AAA: 175,000 broken parking meter complaints in DC

10:45 AM, Aug 26, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- AAA Mid-Atlantic on Monday reported that more than 175,000 service requests and complaints concerning broken, out-of-service, or inoperable parking meters were fielded last year by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.

That means on average, there are 579 out-of-order parking meter complaints every day, six days a week, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. AAA also says broken parking meter complaints make up more than three-fourths of all service calls to DDOT, and that drivers still get tickets if they park at one.

AAA reports that "out-of-service parking meters service requests comprised eight out of ten (82.3 percent) of the entire number of the service complaints or calls that DDOT received in Fiscal Year 2012..." DDOT received a total of 213,117 service requests in Fiscal Year 2012, with 175,537 service requests stemming from non-functioning parking meters. That same year, AAA says D.C. issued 1,884,367 parking tickets to motorists, or an average of 7.3 citations per minute. The District collected $92,554,646 in parking ticket revenue, according to AAA.

"It is unclear how many of those complaints were duplicative with multiple drivers calling about the same parking meter within moments of each other. But that's the likely explanation for the high-volume complaint level from chafed motorists," said AAA's John B. Townsend II in a press release on Monday. "It proves that motorists have zero tolerance for a non-working parking meter after circling the block to find just one of the 17,000 highly coveted metered parking spaces."

D.C. hasn't publicized what percentage of the parking meters was broken at any given moment, but AAA says "it equates to an average rate of 10 calls for each meter in the city's inventory." Despite the number of service requests, DDOT reports in Fiscal Year 12, it "closed an astonishing 99.98 percent of the parking meter service calls at warp speed, leaving a paltry sum of 41 defective meter complaints open by the end of the local government's yearly budget cycle," according to AAA. 

AAA added that according to DDOT Director Terry Bellamy during the FY12 Performance Oversight Hearing earlier this year that overall, "the average response time to close SRs in FY12 have dropped by approximately 50% as compared to FY11." 

The District spent $1 million to pay for 2,000 "networking smart meters" during FY12, according to AAA. More smart meters are on the way: the Fiscal Year 14 budget includes a $10,000,000 allotment for new parking meters, says AAA.

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