Meter Math Adds Up To Big Bucks

City, Meter Company Both Profit From Resumed Enforcement

With Chicago Parking Meters, LLC resuming meter enforcement again Monday, perhaps some mathematical insight will shed some light on the politics.

According to company sources, the new meter company sees enforcement as a key component of revenue.

CPM wants heavy enforcement so drivers are scared into feeding their meters. The reasoning is, logical motorists would prefer to pay a few bucks to the meter than risk a $50 expired meter ticket from the city.

When drivers feed their meters, it’s called compliance. The more people who comply (dropping quarters into meter pay boxes) the more revenue the company generates.

Sources claim that for fiscal year 2010, the company expected its enforcement efforts to increase compliance to a point that would add a cool $1 million to their bottom line. So, it’s not surprising the company wants to have their enforcement teams out on the streets ASAP.

But the city benefits too. In fact more so.

Even when CPM ticket writers issue violations, it’s the City of Chicago that gets all the revenue from the fines.

So, let’s do a little math.

SERCO’s (the contractor handling enforcement for CPM) enforcement personnel average over 6 tickets per hour according to sources in the Dept. of Revenue.

With, on the low end, five new CPM ticket writers on the street per week, they will generate 240 expired meter tickets per day, or 1200 tickets per week, or 31,200 tickets by the end of the year.

This translates into $1.56 million in revenue for the city by the end of 2010.

But wait…it gets even better in 2011.

That’s because, CPM, according to the Dept. of Revenue, plans to have 15 people writing tickets by the end of 2010.

This could translate into 187,200 additional parking tickets or, $9.3 million dollars in fines that Mayor Daley desperately needs to fill his gigantic budget hole.

See, who said you’d never use math in the real world back in high school?

11 Responses to Meter Math Adds Up To Big Bucks

  1. TheReader says:

    Your math is a heckofalot better than than the IG’s…You should consider consulting for them!

    Question: How much do you think 15 Serco people cost CPM per year? If they make $30,000 per year, including benefits, that’s $450,000. If it’s $50,000 that’s $750,000 per year. Either way, Not a bad return on investment, as long as the compliance translates into $1.56MM

    Better yet, the City gets an additional $9.3MM and pays nothing for the cost of that cash…which comes out of the pocket of folks who break the law.

    Isn’t that a win-win-win?

  2. What is the law when CPM or Serco vehicles park illegally at an expired meter or heaven forbid in a loading or at a fire hydrant?

    Doesn’t the law apply equally to them, as per 14th Amendment or is that broken in Chicago too? They aren’t emergency vehicles, are they?

    Funny thing the city wants the meters to work because they can be challenged, but the city doesn’t care if the traffic signals don’t work so the cameras can keep snapping away.

  3. Bob Foster says:


    Do the City parking folks make that much or more? I would rather see additional city employees hired that can write all types of violations and not just meters.

    Personally I would be pretty pissed off to see one of the SERCO employees walk past a car at a fire hydrant or no parking zone without issuing a ticket and then wrote a me a stinking meter ticket.

    Isn’t there a liability issue if they pass up a crosswalk violation and someone gets hit by a car? Sounds like a stupid way for the City to try and get around hiring additional people.

  4. TheReader says:


    Why would you be pissed? You broke the law and you received a penalty for it.

    I’d be pissed if I wanted to park in a space and all of them were full with law-breakers cheating the system.

  5. DoR Employee says:


    Avoid The West and South sides….

    Only people over there with the ballz to write a meter ticket are the cops.

  6. Bob Foster says:


    Why would I be pissed? Are you from this planet? I broke the law by being late getting back to my car and deserve to be flogged while someone who parked at a hydrant or crosswalk gets a pass because the enforcement person can only write meter violations between 8 am and 7 pm? How asinine is that? They will walk past parking violations that are public safety issues to write a ticket because I didn’t pay Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan’s parking meter?

  7. The Reader says:


    JPMorgan’s parking meter? Last I checked Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan were COMPLETELY different companies.

    You’ll excuse me if I dismiss the complaints of a person so ignorant on the topic that they can’t differentiate between two different companies, one of which has nothing to do with the parking meters (That would be JP Morgan)

    Again, you broke the law. Don’t commit the crime if you aren’t willing to do the time. It’s really that simple.

  8. Question says:

    I’ve been out of town, but whatever happened to the ethics questions that were being raised?

    Does the government have a legal obligation to gain approval from citizens prior to the sale of public property to a private party? If so, is there some order of magnitude that triggers the obligation? Also, is there a specific mechanism for certifying approval, like a referendum.

    Basically, can the government sell all public assets without approval from the citizens? If so, that seems very precarious.

    Everyone complains about the rate hikes. If meter rates quadrupled, but the revenue remained in the public domain, that would be OK with me. I wonder why the city didn’t just raise rates to upgrade the system on their own, even hire a consultant with an incentive based contract, but to give away the asset in its entirety…I don’t understand.

  9. TheReader says:

    Question – You are correct…you don’t understand.

    The City did not sell any asset. It entered into a long-term management contract with a private company. This private company has agreed to pay the City a rental fee. Rental fees for the entire contract were paid on day 1 of the contract.

    The problems arose because morons like Ald Waugespack and the Inspector General (forgot his name already) don’t understand finance or the fact that one who is ignorant should remain silent.

    The ethics questions are gone, because they were raised by people who were simply looking for publicity. They KNEW there were ethics violations, but they also knew the ignorant masses would eat it up because it’s what they want to here.

  10. SS says:

    Nope, there’s still a lawsuit out there.

    Nope, morons like Daley worked in stealth to reward friends and family and have now wasted most of a 75 year revenue stream that, like Question raised, could have been increased, and morons like 45 aldermen don’t bother to read legislation they vote on.

  11. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Hey Reader,

    Your thumbnail sketch of the finances of the technicalities of the lease deal are accurate.

    However, your position on the valuation part of the deal is pretty weak. You mentioned Waguespack’s analysis and the IGO’s report. But you forgot the work that DePaul professor Bowman did and Illinois PIRG.

    All of these parties agreed the city got a raw financial deal.

    The problem is, our elected local leaders completely wimped out and allowed the mayor to shove this fat turd of a deal down our collective throats without any discussion, debate, consideration, testimony from citizens or business groups or public interest groups. No one.

    Look, even if you and I could agree the valuation was fair. Even if we could put that behind us.

    The process was so awful and corrupt and anti-democratic that the aldermen should have voted NO just based on this.

    72 hours of “debate” for a $1 billion plus deal that lasts for 75 years?

    I really want to know. Do you think that’s a healthy practice for a city?

    I also want to know what job you hold in City Hall or over at LAZ Parking. Why not come clean and tell us. Because that’s the only way your one-sided comments make any sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>