Internet Fosters Black Market For Wrigleyville Parking Passes On Game Day
Craigslist Preferred Venue For Illegal RPP Guest Pass Sales
With game day parking around Wrigley Field costing drivers up to $50, it’s tough to ignore guaranteed, cheap, convenient on-street parking, just a short walk to Wrigley Field.
That’s the allure of purchasing a zone 383 residential parking permit guest pass from a Lakeview resident.
But it’s also illegal.
On the other side of the transaction, it’s all about the money for 44th ward residents looking to re-sell their residential parking permit guest passes.
“We call them alley entrepreneurs,” says Max Bever from Ald. Tunney’s 44th Ward office. “They (the passes) go for $10 to $20 a pass.”
With guest passes purchased in books of 15 for $8 or about 50 cents each, the upside profit potential is enormous if you can sell a guest pass for $5 to $10 each. Lakeview residents can buy up to 30 guest passes every month. A $16 investment for their 30 passes could potentially be turned into $300 with minor effort. Theoretically, an organized and motivated person could max out their annual guest pass purchases at 360 (30 x 12) and potentially generate several thousand dollars in extra revenue each baseball season.
While re-selling and buying these guest passes is a violation of the Chicago municipal code, it’s hard to enforce and getting more difficult to police these infractions as many sellers and buyers are abandoning the traditional method of discreetly hawking their passes on side streets surrounding Wrigley Field. With potential fines from being caught ranging from $200 to $500, sellers and buyers have moved to a safer place to transact this lucrative black market business–eBay and Craigslist.
Both Craigslist and eBay keep these illegal transactions much more anonymous and safer for both parties, while all but avoiding the scrutiny of police or Department of Revenue enforcement.
One listing on Craigslist says, “Be my guest on any of the shady side streets and avenues surrounding the friendly confines, including the “Cubs’ Night Games Tow Zone,” and sells the guest passes in blocks of 5 for $50 or 10 for $90.
“These are perfectly above board,” said another seller contacted via email, who was also advertising guest passes for $10 each on Craigslist. “I just have more than I can use and want to share them with people who can use them–it’s a great value. You’d be impressed with how much parking is available.”
Another young woman posted in her listing that she had just moved out of Lakeview and was looking to ditch the balance of the guest passes she had purchased for $5 each–10 times the original price.
It’s also not uncommon for scalpers selling tickets to Cubs games will throw in a free guest pass just to sweeten the deal.
Despite what seems to be a spike in Craigslist postings for zone 383 guest parking passes, Bever feels illegal sales for passes to be down this season.
“From my perspective it’s been down this year,” says Bever who wasn’t sure if it was the Cubs poor performance this season or city enforcement efforts that are keeping illegal sales at bay. “But I haven’t seen a greater trend for online sales.”
If you see someone illegally selling zone 383 guest passes around Wrigley Field, Bever recommends either contacting Ald. Tunney’s office at 773-525-6034 or the District 23 Police Station at 312-744-8320.
In addition, the Cubs organization funds a hotline to report this type of behavior or to report parking violations. Call 866-4 CPD-TOW and CPD will contact police officers on the ground around Wrigley Field.