What has city hall done for you lately? They are about to give you some real customer service. No kidding. I didn’t make this up.


By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 16, 2012  Parking tickets.  Ugh!  Many in Burlington think that if they own a car they have a God given right to park it exactly where they want to whenever they want to.  Own a car and there are some downsides.  When we used horses there were downsides as well – those little gifts they would leave on the streets – remember?

The city is going to take over the administration of the parking fines.  If you don’t feel you were ticketed fairly you still get to go to the First Attendance room at city hall and argue for a reduction.  The new set up – and you are going to like what the city is doing – will have that First Attendance office re-named and called a Screening Hearing.

If you’re unhappy with the results you can get a Court date – but you will not have to go to the Court house.  You will be able to go to city hall and plead your case.

It gets better.

The city is looking into holding Night Courts.

The city will run its own parking offence courts – might see a Night Court as part of the new Customer Service philosophy working its way through city hall.

It gets better still.  They are looking into holding these Parking fine sessions in different parts of the city.  Now if they hold these Parking Offence Courts in different parts of the city and hold a Night Court as well – gosh you might leave the Court Room with a smile on your face.

More yet.   Under the old system, if you wanted to dispute the parking ticket you were given a Court date and off you went – and you waited and waited and sometimes waited far longer than you think you should have.

The new system, courtesy of city hall, will send you a court date and give you a time frame to attend so you don’t have to spend a day waiting around.

THAT is customer service.

This new system applies to offences for which the fine is $100 or less.  Thus if you park in a handicapped space you are still going to the real Court House – the fine for that infraction is $400.

Free parking is not one of the options that comes with a car. You park – you pay.

At this point the city gets somewhere between 100 and 200 situations where people demand a hearing.  Any offence before July 3rd comes under the old system – which means dispute the ticket and you go to the Court House on Plains Road.

New provincial legislation allowed a municipality to choose to handle the administration of parking ticket offences and Bruce Zvaniga, Director of Transportation Services convinced the city to do things differently.  On his LinkedIn page Zvaniga says he delivers innovative, sustainable transportation solutions that nurture livable communities.  That doesn’t translate directly into making it easier to pay a parking ticket but this kind of innovation at city hall I welcome.


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