CBS 3: Several years ago, [Philadelphia attorney] Pascal challenged hundreds of parking tickets issued in western Pennsylvania because the meters weren’t certified as required by state law. A judge agreed and threw the tickets out! “It’s a consumer protection issue that says that people are going to get what they paid for, just like they should get the amount of gasoline they pay for at the pump and the amount of meat they get at the grocery store,” said Pascal.
In Philadelphia, while the Parking Authority collects the revenue and issues tickets, the City’s Licenses and Inspections Department is actually responsible for certifying the meters for accurate timing. By law, each meter is to be tested at least once every three years. “Has your department tested every parking meter in the city within the past three years?” I asked Deputy Commissioner Dominic Verdi. “No,” he replied. So how many have they inspected? The Deputy Commissioner wasn’t clear, saying “The exact number I don’t have in front of me.” But we know, after 3 On Your Side reviewed the inspection reports ourselves. Out of 14,500 meters, only around 2,000 have been tested and certified for timing from 2005 through 2007, that is less than 15 percent! Verdi blames lack of man power, L&I only has one inspector assigned to that job. “There is no way possible for us to handle all of those meters,” said Verdi.
But when we checked, we found some meters were being checked time and time again! A meter on South 9th Street was tested at 11 a.m. one morning and approved, then hours later it was tested again, and approved again! When I asked Verdi if the inspector was clueless, he just shrugged. Then there is the situation we found on Ridge Avenue, a meter was tested and approved eight times last year, and it happened in other places too! I asked Verdi if that sounded suspicious, he replied, “It sounds suspicious to me, yes. The information that you’re giving me now will be investigated to the fullest.” MORE
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