2 main reasons parking tickets are wrongly issued

We continue to hear from you, our viewers, about City of Atlanta parking tickets for expired meters you don't think you deserved. We really have been trying to sort out how someone can get a ticket when the meter is still running. According to City of Atlanta parking management, there are two problems: cell service and bad license plate numbers.

Midtown resident Khari Faison says he's gotten plenty of tickets in the past, and he pays them.

 "Yes, I do pay them, if they’re valid."

And his June ATL Plus ticket, he tells the Fox 5 I-Team, is wrong. ATL Plus is contracted by the City of Atlanta to manage its metered parking.

"I was written a ticket three minutes after I paid to park. The meter maid was, literally, a few feet away, saw me park.," he said.

Yep. It shows he paid at 6:25 p.m. and got a ticket at 6:28 that same evening. Records show he promptly refuted it. And the city reports the citation was dismissed the next

Here’s another case: Tiffany Carter makes the same claim.  

She parked on 8th Street downtown. She had time on the clock but still got a parking ticket for an expired meter. The city says it too was tossed out.  

Khari Faison wondered, "Is it a technology issue with not real time updates with their little Palm Pilots? I’m not sure."

City of Atlanta management says in Tiffany Carter’s case it was most likely a technology issue. The payment information a motorist keys into the parking meter or into the mobile app is transmitted via cell towers. And sometimes there is a delay.  

Calvin Watts, a senior parking program manager, says that if three percent of the tickets issued by ATL Plus are mistakes, the parking management company is fined. And so far, they've fallen far short of that threshold.  

But here’s where we - motorists - are the problem, particularly if we pay using the mobile app. With the app you put in your license plate number; that's how your car is connected to the meter. But, many of us have a few license plates on file: your car, your husband’s car, maybe a work vehicle. The problem is one of them is the default plate number. So, if you've switched cars and didn't actively go in and change it when you paid to park, the officer thinks you've overstayed your meter. And you get a citation.  

In an email, city parking officials believe that might be what happened to Khari Faison. The plate didn't match the meter. But, again, after he disputed it, the city threw it out.

ATL Plus took over the city contract March 2017 after a tumultuous eight-year relationship with the previous management company. City of Atlanta parking officials say, they're happy to report ticket errors are down 13 percent from the previous company.  Still, mistakes are made. Misunderstandings happen. Either way, they want your feedback - good or bad.   

But disputing, as I've reported before, can be tricky.  Take a look at my previous investigation for the 'how to' on disputing a citation you think was made in error. HOW TO DISPUTE A PARKING TICKET.