Every motorist in San Francisco has some story to tell about being unjustly ticketed by The City’s parking control officers, with tales frequently ending in feelings of helplessness, anger, and frustration.
Cory Logan has similar stories of parking woes, but instead of blathering to his buddies about them, he has set up a website to track and record instances of unjustified traffic citations in San Francisco.
Logan’s website, www.dptwatch.com, allows drivers to list all the vitals of their citations — time, location, officer and fine — and post them online. Logan, a software consultant, said the site aims to highlight and give voice to the growing number of motorists who feel they have been nailed with an unwarranted ticket and to collect data from the slips, and determine trends, such as which parking control officer is the most frequent target of complaints or what meter may have a history of malfunctioning.
“This could give people a lot more leverage if they decide to protest their citations,” Logan said. Logan opted to start the website after his motorcycle was ticketed last month while parked downtown. Despite filling up the meter with his city-issued parking card, Logan found a citation on his vehicle for overstaying the time limit.
He noticed that the two motorcycles next to him also received tickets. Logan left his number on one of the motorcycles, and he got a call soon after from a fellow driver who said he too had been hit with a bogus ticket.
Motorists can protest tickets, but it’s usually a lengthy or unsuccessful process.
“Everyone I know has said the protest process is a waste of time and money,” Logan said. “Hopefully, we can change that.”
The DPT Watch site has been up for just over a week, and so far only a handful of people have posted their citations. The complaints have ranged from a motorist who got ticketed for failing to curb his tire properly, to another who was fined for stopping on Market Street, despite never being approached by a parking control officer.
The idea has grabbed the attention of some drivers. San Francisco resident Andy Panado said he is frequently slapped with tickets he doesn’t deserve. A site like DPT Watch that gathers motorists together gives them a better chance of fighting unjust tickets, Panado said.
“With just one person against The City, it can be like David versus Goliath,” Ponado said. “But when we come together, we have a better say, and they have to listen.”
1.6 million: Parking citations issued last year
78,620: Tickets protested
24,009: Tickets dismissed after first protest
6,637: Tickets dismissed after second protest
30,646: Total tickets dismissed
2: Percent of total tickets dismissed