Meter Maid

Meter Maid

Meter-Made

Toronto, ON

Female, 30

I currently work as a Parking Enforcement Officer in the wonderful city of Toronto. I am feared, and loathed by all. I may not work in your particular city, but I'm positive that I can help give you a better understanding of what Meter Maids do. I am knowledgeable in all parking matters so ask me anything.

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103 Questions

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Last Answer on September 05, 2013

Best Rated

I've heard that in some countries, the fines for parking and traffic violations vary based on the person's income. Do you think this policy makes more sense than the conventional flat-fee penalties?

Asked by Big Finn about 12 years ago

I think it would make more sense to base the price of fines on a person's level of income, simply because a $30 dollar ticket doesn't mean much to a person making a six figure salary. It may, however, deter a single parent making 20,000 a year from parking illegally in the future. In order to deter people from parking illegally (or any other traffic violation), people have to be hit where it hurts the most (their wallets). I really don't know if this would ever be implemented in Toronto, but it's theoretically a good idea.

So I saw in the Toronto papers today a big scandal about police officers getting busted for having ticket quotas, even though law prohibits it. Did that affect meter maids at all?

Asked by goleafs about 12 years ago

For those of you who aren't from Toronto, the story is mainly focused around an email from a Toronto Police Sergeant who was encouraging her officers to write more tickets.The type of tickets she is referring to is unknown, and could relate to a number of violations. (http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/30/traffic-officers-upset-with-quotas-in-torontos-31-division) It didn't really affect the Parking Unit at all. Some of my coworkers and I discussed it briefly, but I tend to be weary of anything I read these days in the newspapers as they tend to be anti-police. After reading the newspaper article myself I can see how the email in question can be manipulated to mean that there is a quota in place. In reality I think this Sergeant was just looking to get her officers to be more proactive. As I mentioned before, the type of tickets she is mentioning is unknown. Police Officers write tickets for a number of things, not just traffic tickets. They can even write parking tickets. I may be pro-police, but I think that this Sergeant is only looking to make sure that her officers aren't just sitting around and doing nothing.

You said, "This is why you have the right to take your ticket to court." While technically true, any busy person probably can't spend a day dealing with the court system to contest a $50 ticket. So as a practical matter, we as drivers are forced to pay it, even in instances where it's not justified. Why can't we just contest it by submitting a brief explanation and accompanying photos online?

Asked by Argh-onaut about 12 years ago

To date there is only an online dispute process for tickets received in metered areas. This is because meters and pay machines are often out of service etc. In the City of Toronto, you can take your chances with a First Appearance Facility, (which are the locations listed on the back of your ticket, which you go to set your court date). There have been instances where they take back tickets, but they are more than likely going to tell you to set a court date. I understand it's a nuisance to take your ticket to court and take time off work etc, but you also have the right to send someone on your behalf. You don't have to go personally. If you are going to plead not guilty and go through with a trial, the person can't obviously testify you. The only thing a representative can do for you is ask for an adjournment for another day you can personally attend, or to plead guilty on your behalf. Prosecutors will tell you that parking violations are absolute liability offences, and that if your car was there (regardless of if you found the signs confusing,) you are guilty. If you plead guilty they often let you give an explanation that will go toward lessening the fine. I agree that there should be a system in place for people to deal with parking tickets more efficiently, even electronically. Unfortunately I don`t make up the rules. If you want to be able to dispute things online you should complain to your city councilors as we haven`t personally put these rules in place. We are there to enforce the bylaws, and to attend court when summoned.

Is it true that once a meter maid has written a ticket, he can't take it back no matter how much a person pleads?

Asked by Don70 about 12 years ago

Like I mentioned before, I can only speak on behalf of the system in Toronto. If the ticket has not been served to the vehicle in question, the officer has discretion in whether or not they wish to serve the parking infraction notice. With that said, it is also legally served if it is handed to you. Some of my coworkers choose to be more aggressive but the majority of us will be nice enough to not serve it and let you carry on with your day. Just a word to the wise: dashing into your car and driving away, or not acknowledging a parking enforcement officer will more than likely result in them serving the ticket. Be respectful to us and we will be nice in return (that's my motto at least).

What's the meanest thing anyone's ever said to you?

Asked by porks2 about 12 years ago

The meanest thing anyone's ever said to me? That's a tough call. There are some things that I shouldn't even post on the internet. People say a lot of awful things to me, but one particular incident sent chills down my spine. I was ticketing down a busy street in Toronto on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when a pedestrian that was walking by me stopped, went out of his way and asked "Why are you ticketing people on weekends? Way to ruin someones day. You should be shot for that." This man didn't even have a car parked near me. I didn't even pay him any attention, but he chose to confront me about ticketing other peoples cars. It was shocking to say the least, but it wasn't just what he said, it's how he said it. I almost believed he would come back and show me how serious he was.

Are there times when you can't decide whether to give a ticket because you're going back and forth on whether or not it's actually deserved because of confusing signs or something?

Asked by M1ke about 12 years ago

There have been many instances where I feel conflicted about giving out a ticket. This usually happens in areas where construction was once taking place. Once construction is over, the city rushes to put signs back up and can sometimes put up conflicting or insufficient signage. In one particular area there is one sign that reads "no standing" with arrows pointing in both directions at the very top of the street. No other signs exist on that street. This is not only conflicting for me, but also for motorists who want to park there. I personally choose to avoid ticketing on that entire side of the street, but other officers have no problem doing so. Technically the officer is justified in doing so, but it's a judgement call on the part of the officer.

If I get a parking ticket but the sign was not visible (blocked by a tree, spraypainted over, or something similar), can I appeal it?

Asked by N8 about 12 years ago

You have the right to appeal any ticket you receive, including parking tickets. I an understand that a lot of the signs are old, worn down, or even obstructed at times and therefore I recommend that you do exercise your right to a trial in these cases. Every ticket that an officer will write will also include evidence that they include at the time of the offence, and therefore it is up to you to come up with evidence that will support you. Your only option is to take photos at the time of the incident of the obstructed signs. I also suggest that these pictures be date stamped in order to further assist you. It is up to the Justice of the Peace to accept them or not in court. Also bear in mind that sometimes there are other signs ahead or behind your vehicle that may not be obstructed. My best advice to all drivers is to be aware of EVERY sign in the vicinity of your parking spot. When it doubt, don't park there.