Parking Meter App Users Wrongly Ticketed Hundreds of Times

Workers for CPM erect one of the 42,000 signs needed citywide for the ParkChicago mobile pay to park system.

Workers for CPM erect one of the 42,000 signs needed citywide for the ParkChicago mobile pay to park system.

The city’s highly touted new pay-by-phone parking meter app is being rolled out across the city, but hundreds of drivers have been ticketed even after correctly using the app to pay their meters.

City officials confirm that 317 drivers using the recently released ParkChicago pay-by-phone app have reported receiving tickets for an expired-meter violation — even though there was still time on the meter — in the first two months since the app’s rollout began in May.

Chicago Parking Meters spokesman Scott Burnham said only a small percentage of parkers who used the app have gotten tickets, although he didn’t say how many times the app had been used overall to pay meters.

The city has issued 81,868 expired-meter tickets to all parkers citywide since the app became available, although most of those went to parkers using the pay boxes on the street.

The ParkChicago app debuted to great fanfare in a West Loop pilot test in mid-April. It allows drivers to use their Android or iOS smartphones to pay their parking meter without having to walk to the parking meter paybox.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

9 Responses to Parking Meter App Users Wrongly Ticketed Hundreds of Times

  1. Jeff says:


    Great piece on drivers getting tickets when using the new parking app.

    Did anyone NOT expect that drivers would still get tickets, even when using this app correctly?

  2. Annon says:

    CPD isn’t Checking via the app.

  3. Pete says:

    As soon as I heard about this program, I KNEW this would happen. Verifying that someone paid via app is asking too much of government employees. And why not issue more tickets, there’s NO downside for the city. Worst that happens, people appeal and win, in which case they merely don’t have to pay. But no doubt someone was ticketed wrongly and paid anyway like most American sheep do. So it’s nothing but a gain for the city.

  4. B says:

    The only surprise is how many people didn’t see it coming. I don’t how people could live here more than a couple years and not see these things coming. I learned long ago that written law means nothing, the enforcers are far too often very simplistic their mindset. Trying to explain the finer points of the law just makes them angry.

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Pete, B,

    I felt very strongly that it was a mistake NOT to have a circuit breaker in place to resolve issues like these from the very start.

    It should be relatively easy to compare the driver’s payment history against the ticket date/time and have it non suited.

    I actually asked both the city and CPM why they didn’t offer such a service and, at the time, didn’t think they needed it. Unfortunately, I am proven correct.

    At the very least, they now seem to be implementing the ability for drivers with improper tickets to have their tickets dismissed.

  6. Jeff says:


    Isn’t the city fighting enough lawsuits on parking and speed/red light camera tickets? Isn’t the city going broke from these and other legal expenses? Do they really need to drop the ball here, and serve up a ready made class action lawsuit for all wrongfully ticketed meter users?

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    If the city dismissed the improper tickets, then hasn’t the harmful situation been eliminated? Therefore no cause of action to initiate a class action?

  8. Jeff says:


    Each individual class member is still damaged since they have had to spend time and effort to document their compliance via the parking meter app, in order to get a dismisal. Successful class actions have been launched over much less in terms of inconvenience (i.e., telemarketing calls).

    And even if such a class action gets dismissed or fails to secure a judgment, the city would still be spending time and money to defend against that class action.

  9. Anon says:

    Mike, the behavioral problem persists.

    If a PEA were to be deliberately ignoring policy and as issuing incorrectly they would be put forth into the progressive discipline process for Conduct Unbecoming among other rule violations.
    Genuine errors due to a delay in the server updating is something else.

    What the Chicago police department is doing is out right illegal.

    The police have special overtime missions:
    Park District
    Safe Passage

    And for a cop to qualify, they are required to write tickets each of their regularly scheduled shifts.

    Meter tickets are easy now if all you do is look for a vehicle with no receipt and don’t bother to check the app.

    This is deliberate by the Cops. They don’t care, they’ve even said “oh well, they can contest the ticket.”

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