Protect Yourself Against Broken Meters

The Expired Meter Helps Motorists Prevent Broken Meter Parking Tickets

Despite the fact that, according to Chicago municipal code, you cannot be ticketed for parking at a broken meter, in many cases, motorists are still receiving tickets for this.

Now, most PEA’s and policemen know this rule and follow the law. However, obviously, some ticket writers (hint, SERCO) do not and others have no problem overlooking the law to slap an improper ticket on your windshield.

In order to protect Chicago motorists from getting ticketed for parking at an inoperable meter, the Expired Meter staff has designed a handy-dandy flier to help our readers from getting ticketed for parking at a meter that’s out of order.

This flier reminds ticket writers of what the municipal code says in regards to parking at a non-working meter.

9-64-190 Parking meter zones – Regulations …It is not a violation of this section to park a vehicle at a zone or space served by a meter that does not function properly…

Just download the Broken Meter flier, and printout one or more of these reminders to keep with you in your vehicle, along with a role of tape (preferably 2″ packing tape).

If you locate and park at a broken meter, tape one of these fliers to the head of the non-working meter you’re at.

If the Pay & Display unit is broken, slap this on the unit on the front to altert all the drivers of the problem and put one on your dashboard and/or windshield.

Although, technically, you’re supposed to know to walk down the street and use another unit.

The only problem with this is, by the time you put on your hiking boots to go on your excursion into the unknown to locate another unit, and find your way back to your vehicle, you may have a bright orange surprise on your windshield.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you do NOT cover up the digital readout or the coin slot, so the PEA or cop or whomever ticket writer, can verify the meter is NOT in working order.

And don’t be a dick and slap these fliers on working meters!!! This is for legitimately broken parking meters. If you’re a jerk and use it on a working meter, I encourage the ticket writer to write you two tickets instead of one.

Download the Broken Meter flier PDF right here.

18 Responses to Protect Yourself Against Broken Meters

  1. Ticketmaster says:

    Ok PTG,

    Let’s see how long before I see one of your signs posted at a meter or on a car. Gonna have to carry my camera phone with me to take that photo.

  2. XRF says:

    Why the note about reporting it as broken? Is that required?

  3. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    As a PEA, do you like the idea, or do you think it’s just goofy or even stupid?

  4. Ticketmaster says:

    I like the idea. People have no idea how frustrated peas get when we unknowingly issue a ticket to a broken meter. Besides pissing off some citizen (who then thinks we are evil and are trying to make a qouta), when the ticket gets challanged and subsquently thrown out, we look incompatant to management. Perhaps it might save us and the public some headaches, however like you said:

    “And don’t be a dick and slap these fliers on working meters!!! This is for legitimately broken parking meters. If you’re a jerk and use it on a working meter”

    that is the biggest problem I can see, I still recommend besides using it, to please call 311 or laz to report the meter broken and if you should see a PEA, let us know and we can log it in.

  5. Pete says:

    Great idea, but I’d be surprised if it works.

  6. Vic says:

    I called 311 the other day and asked them if I could get a ticket for parking at a expired meter, and the person on the phone responded, “of course you can get ticketed!” And continued to talk to me like I am a child that has never parked on the street in Chicago before. I don’t get it!! Can we or can we not get a ticket?!

  7. Ticketmaster says:

    Hello Vic,

    You can be ticketed at an expired meter. You cannot be ticketed on a broken meter.

  8. DoR Employee says:

    Correct Vic……..and I will tell you plainly…

    Revenue PEA’s are NOT the ones writing tickets for cars on broken meters. Knowingly at least.

    Its the City Traffic Aides and maybe a few power tripping Cops.

    As for the Pay and Display Boxes.

    Don’t just think you found a free slot if the CC machine isn’t working……Drop Coins and check to make sure its NOT operable………and then Check the Next ones you can see….And Print out a sign that says: “GONE TO PAY BOX….please look for my driver.”

    I have had many people go : “But the Box didn’t accept my CC.”

    And my reply is: “Did you try that one right across the street?”

    95% of the time the answer they give me is “No.”

    People are so used to being able to park for Free on a Broken meter.

    And Another thing I’ve seen lately…….

    TMA and the Police are writing cars on Broken Meters…..For “Time Overstay.”

    That is the same violation as an Expired Meter….but they are now Timing the Cars for the duration of time it is on the broken meter.

    Over 2 hours…and they can Legally Pop you for being over your parking time limit…or what ever Posted Time Limit is on the Meter.

    Watch out

  9. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    What about the SERCO guys DoR?

    We get a LOT of complaints about improper tickets written by SERCO personnel.

    Any thoughts on them and this particular violation?

  10. XRF says:

    I love how nobody who should know, does. More examples of how big a mess this is.

    At what point do you not have to walk to a pay machine? If the one on my side, and across the street are broken, do I walk 1/2 mile up to the next one? That seems absurd.

    And what’s the law say if the credit card reading machine is broken and only coins are working (or the other way around)? If it should accept CC and doesn’t, do you have to scrounge up coins?

  11. DoR Employee says:


    Lemme ask this as a riposte`. If your at a Pay Box…but the CC machine isn’t working…and there is a Coin Slot for a second way to pay……why would you think it is okay to not pay?

    Multiple ways to pay are Just that….

    I’d bitch more that the coin slots don’t accept dimes and Nickels anymore…or that they don’t take Cash also..or that they don’t seem to accept the Dollar Coins anymore.

    So yes…you are required to Find Change.

    Taylor Street off Ashland is a great example….during this past Winter…90% of the machines were down due to various issues….but 10% of them were working. That street was still enforced for meter violations.


    I know that until recently, SerCo and CPD were issuing for out of state plates/expired tags…outside of metered space (with no lines on ground)…..No Parking/Time Restricted on Handicap’s on Expired Meters (saw one of these yesterday near Pulaski and Milwaukee).

    I have also seen TMA’s writing “Curb Loading Zone” citations for vehicles without a Non-Commercial Loading Zone Permit (B Plates and Delivery Trucks are exempt from requiring an I.C.C permit for loading zones.).

    For parkers issued on Broken meters……I agree completely with Ticketmaster.

    I do agree with issuing for Time Restriction on vehicles that are parked on a broken Meter for more than the Posted Time limit…but I’ll be damned if I am going to wander around in a circle for 2 hours to do a Time Restriction for cars.

  12. mrgoodbar says:

    You should check out the new ordinance!

    You still are not supposed to be ticketed for parking at a broken meter, however there is a new clause which states you’re supposed to notify the city within 24 hours of broken meters. The ordinance doesn’t specify who you’re supposed to call.

    Anyway, it puts the onus on the driver to state that the meter was busted.

    In other words, if you park a broken meter, that meter is your responsibility.

  13. DoR Employee says:

    Thank you Mrgoodbar….

    I was aware of that change…but while researching the specific code…I could not find an updated version on line or at the Revenue site.

    Regardless….until such time as the Director or Deputy Director of Street Ops sends out a memo instructing us to ticket broken meters, Revenue isn’t going to Knowingly Issue on a broken meter.

    Keep in mind…the operative word there is “Knowingly.”

  14. If the pay box is broken it is ridiculous that I am expected to go hunting for one that works AND leave a note AND go find change if the credit card reader doesn’t work. I wasn’t the rocket scientist who designed a machine that won’t take legal tender (bills) and I’m surely not the one benefitting from removing meters in exchange for pay boxes. If you don’t have cash on you because you know it’s a pay box zone are you expected to hit an ATM (complete with $4 in fees) then beg for some store to make change? I gotta say DoR, you sound like you’re starting to let the power go to your head.

  15. [...] the future, print out The Expired Meter’s handy dandy flier to slap onto the meter to further insure you are not [...]

  16. DoR Employee says:

    Angry Chicagoan:

    I made a suggestion about a sign to let a PEA or TMA know that your gone for change.

    You are not required to leave a note, little boy.

    Just like I am not required to Look towards a pay box to see if anyone is paying for the car/truck/van that doesn’t have a receipt on the dash.

    And once again…Multiple ways to pay is just that.

    And I’ve seen TPG’s signs…………..we’ve been instructed to ignore them and ticket.

  17. [...] California’s new law prohibits parking enforcers from ticketing motorists who park at broken meters. (Image courtesy of TheExpiredMeter) [...]

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