I got my renewal for licence stickers in the mail the other day, and to my shock I also had $523 of parking tickets attached to the car my wife drives. Was I upset? You bet I was, but not at who you think.
I was upset that these parking fines were from 2008. Which means that when I went to renew my licence plate sticker last year, it should of been on the system and I should of paid them then. I was upset then, and made sure that any ticket I got from that point on would be paid off in a timely fashion. Which is what I have been doing ever since.
So to say I was a bit surprised is an understatement, more like pissed off. I called the city and was told that there were 8 tickets at about $30 a pop that I hadn't paid in a timely fashion and had ballooned to $66 each for a grand total of $523. They couldn't tell me why it wasn't in the system last year when I renewed my sticker, some bullshit about the city and the province using different computer systems and them not speaking to each other.
Like that's my fault?!
They suggested I come into the parking office, located at the traffic court in Scarborough, and fill out some forms to get these tickets reopened, which would allow a Justice of the Peace to look at them to determine if they could knock off some cash.
And let me just say that I'm not disputing the fact that I got parking tickets, I'm disputing the fact that I wasn't aware of these parking tickets until now, which because I wasn't aware had ballooned to $523 instead of the $240 face value.
So the wife and I go in to dispute these tickets. We go to the parking enforcement office and for an $8 fee they print up the 8 tickets I am disputing. Then we are sent to the MTO office where all parking and driving offences are dealt with. It is what you imagine a government office to be, the room is packed with people from all walks of life, and everyone is pissed off at the long wait.
You line up and wait to see a guy behind a window, who gives you forms to fill out and a number for the next line.
And then you wait, and you wait and you wait for your number to be called.
Approx. wait time to this point, 2.5 hours.
When we finally make it up to the window, our forms are processed and we are sent up to the second floor, "In-take Area". It is a court area, so you have to go through a metal detector, and be searched by a court guard before you can even get to the "In-take Area".
And then you sit and wait some more.
Eventually I was called into a room to speak with the Justice of the Peace, who in this case turned out to be a complete pompous ass. He decides he is not going to open the case because my tickets are from too far back, but he does allow for an extension to pay. He didn't want to hear any explanations, nor did he explain that by getting an extension it would reduce each ticket by $20, for a total of $160. It is only when I get annoyed and explain I'm not contesting the tickets, rather the fact that I was never made aware of them until now, does he tell me to apply for the extension and I will get a discount.
And then the pompous ass has the gall to lecture me about the fact that an extension is not a given. He takes my tickets to examine them and sends me outside to wait some more.
More forms are filled out followed by more waiting.
I'm eventually called back in to speak to the JP and am told I have been given the extension.
Total time wasted -- 4 hours.
Lesson to be learned from the entire experience?
You can't win with the government. You can't fight something if no one wants to listen.
Pay your parking tickets when you get them, because it certainly isn't worth the hassle trying to fight it.
Price to drive in Toronto
$429 in parking tickets
$429 in parking tickets
$50 Drive Clean emissions test
$75 x 2 Licence sticker
$60 x 2 city of Toronto Tax
The price to drive two cars in Toronto without insurance or gas.
And the Toronto Star just ran a story today saying there is one billion in unpaid parking fines in Toronto, mmm I wonder why?