Parking Officers, Scum of the Earth

I went to a concert called Acappellooza on a Sunday in January.  It was held in the heart of Toronto, so I knew parking was going to be an issue.  I drove past the Thatre Passee Muraille, and looked for parking in the vicinity.  I recalled driving past a pay and display lot, so I tried to  maneuver through the one-way streets back to the lot.  On the way, I saw an empty street curb with clearly marked signs, saying “no parking between x, y, z, 10 minute parking only between a, b, c”.  Sunday wasn’t any of the listed x,y,z,a,b,c times.  I presumed that it would be the same 3-hour street parking rule that governs the Toronto streets, so I left my car there and I went to my concert.

A lovely few hours later, I came back to my car to find a ticket!

I was confused, so I took a picture of the parking sign and I went home.  The ticket was for parking at a prohibited time.  I was certain that Sunday wasn’t on either of the “Yes park”, “No park” signs, but I could have made a mistake in presuming that the 3-hour parking rule applied.  I decided to find out what I had done wrong, so that I could avoid making the same mistake in the future.

I went to the parking tags office on John Street, and fortunately arrived at to an empty queue.  I asked the lady at the counter to explain what I had done wrong, and she told me that although the ticket said I received it for parking at a prohibited time, it was actually for parking in the wrong location.


I asked her if she would please look at the picture of the parking signs, and help me interpret the sign.  She agreed.  I was very polite and friendly, because I knew it was the best way to get things moving.

She pointed to the sign that said “no parking, any time”  I told her that I didn’t park there.  She told me that she couldn’t take my word for it.

I told her that that wasn’t my question.  Would it have been wrong if I parked on the other side of the sign, the side that said “No park” “Yes park”?

She pointed again to the sign that said “no parking, any time” and continued to insist that I got a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the sign.  Of course this was impossible because I had actually parked 2 cars down from the sign post.

It took me a few tries with her until it actually occurred to me that this was the point.  She was indirectly telling me that I hadn’t done anything wrong.  I had gotten a ticket for something I had not done (parking in the no parking anytime zone), but because there were no eye witnesses, and photos are unreliable evidence, there was nothing I could do.

By now, a queue had built behind me, and people in the line (older, wiser folk) suggested that I take it to court because a) I would never have to pay for it and b) This type of mis-ticketing was rampant in Toronto and totally unethical.

In the heat of the moment, I started to complete a court date request, but I remembered that I had promised myself that I would not spend any more time on this ticket than what I had already spent.  After all, the ticket was only for $40, and that’s my hourly wage.  I told the lady at the counter to have a great day and I walked away.

So if you’re ever wondering how Toronto affords tax cuts here and there, the answer is simple.  Illegal ticketing.  I guess in a way, it’s a progressive tax.  People who have cars can afford to pay the tickets to pay for the raises of government workers.  Getting older and learning the world sucks sucks.

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