Philadelphia, Where They’ll Ticket You Before You Even Leave The Car

This is Reason #516 why I don’t have a car… While we understand why Parking Authority agents have to be coldhearted when someone comes rushing up to an expired meter, crying, “Please don’t ticket me! I was just coming out to put in more money…” we also think there has to be a few seconds of grace period between pulling up to a parking meter and being ticketed. But apparently not here in Philadelphia.

The Daily News has the story of a driver who says he was ticketed before he even had the chance to get out of his car and feed the meter.

“I pull up, take off my sunglasses, turn off the ignition and reach for a roll of quarters,” he tells the News. But by the time he got out of his car and walked the few feet to the meter, the PPA agent had already begun writing up the $36 ticket.

He says the officer asked him where he came from.

“From the driver’s seat,” responded the driver. “I assume you’re not giving me a ticket.”

To which, he claims, the officer answered, “Your meter has expired.”

The driver explained that he had just pulled into the spot, but the PPA officer told him, “Well, I’ve already processed the ticket,” and the only thing that could be done is for him to plead his case at a hearing.

When the Daily News contacted the PPA, the agency’s executive director said he’d never heard of a ticket being written so quickly.

“I don’t have anyone that is that quick,” he says, explaining that the PPA’s training includes looking to see if someone is in the car first. The director also says this particular officer, a 14-year vet, had no history of being too fast on the draw when it came to ticketing cars.

Like in a number of other cities, PPA tickets are now written electronically on wireless devices that automatically enter them into the system. Officers can cancel a ticket up until the last element is added on the form, but after that it’s apparently out of the officer’s hands.

The exec. director tells the Daily News that if the officer agrees after the fact that the ticket shouldn’t have been written, the driver can request a letter from PPA customer service.

From the archives, here’s reason #273 for my decision to be carless in Philadelphia.