Parking firm foulup: CTA parkers get false notice of rate increase

Because of a mistake made by Central Parking System (CPS) Chicago
Parking, CTA commuters who pay monthly rates in some CTA Park & Ride
lots got an erroneous letter from CPS this month that their rates are
going up.

The rates are not going up. Those letters -- with the bogus
notification of a 4-7% rate hike -- were meant only for CPS monthly
customers at non-CTA parking lots. The CTA says no one has been charged a
higher rate.

When the CTA learned about the CPS screwup, it asked CPS to send a
follow-up notice to CTA Park & Ride customers to clarify that the
increase does not apply to them.

A CTA spokesperson stressed in a note to CTA Tattler that CPS does
not have authority to increase rates without CTA board approval. You can
bet I would have reported such a move by the board if it had happened.
The CTA was roundly criticized by parking lot users when rates were
doubled -- from $2 a day to $4 -- at most lots in January 2009.

The CTA hired CPS to manage 11 of its 17 Park & Ride
lots and its "under the L" parking areas. Under the fiver-year
agreement, the CTA is guaranteed at least $1 million annually. Under the
previous agreement with Standard Parking, the CTA averages $677,000 a
year in revenues from 2004 to 2008.

See the bogus increase notice
on the continuation, plus more news about parking along the Orange Line.

A CTA Tattler reader also wanted to know why parkers in Orange Line
lots only can park for up to 12 hours, while parkers in some other CTA
lots can park for 24 hours, or pay variable rates for longer periods.

The CTA spokesperson said parking is limited to 12 hours along the
Orange Line -- and at Midway in particular -- "to restrict overnight
parking to be sure space is available for morning commuters.

"At Midway in particular, because the rates are low compared to
airport parking, the 12-hour limit helps keep the lot available for the
use of commuters and not as a cheap parking alternative for travelers or
airport employees," said the spokesperson. She noted that parking at the Midway terminal lot costs $18 for
8-12 hours, and $23 for 12 to 16 hours.

CPS patrols the lots and issues $49 ticket to those who overstay
their 12-hour welcome. CTA's spokesperson said, "If someone thinks they
were ticketed in error or they were just running a little late, they
would appropriately address the issue with CPS. The value of the ticket
is $49, but if the violator responds within 2 weeks, they only pay $29."

Here's the bogus rate increase notice:

Parking Statement 2.jpg
CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

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  • With respect to the Orange Line parking rates: The CTA wants to have spaces available for commuters. But the CTA could have accomplished that goal simply by enforcing the midnight expiration - regardless of the parking rate. Overnight parking wasn't allowed under the old system, even when rates were $2 per day. Parking fares expired at midnight, and violators were ticketed. It seems Orange Line commuters are penalized for using a line that serves an airport.

    Also, the parking rate has nothing to do with deterring airport users

  • In reply to cclair:

    Chris: CTA told me that when Standard Parking managed the lots, people still could park for just 12 hours only along the Orange Line. In other words, there was no recent change in policy to allow only 12 hour parking. Are you saying that is not true?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Kevin,

    All the signs read either $2 or (later) $4 per day. No mention of a 12-hour limit. And prior to the Standard Parking contract, the CTA never, ever enforced the 12-hour rule. Since 2004 we have routinely parked in the morning and stayed longer than 12 hours without ever getting a ticket. That is why the current enforcement change came as such a surprise.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I should have said prior to the CPS parking contract, Standard Parking (or CTA or whomever) never enforced any 12-hour rule.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Just to clarify, for anyone following this Orange Line parking thread: dug around the CTA's web site, and found this, which blasts my claim that there was never a 12-hour limit before.
    www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?Archive=y&ArticleId=2243

    However, until recently there were no signs at any of the Orange Line lots that indicated the parking fee was for any time frame other than "per day." The above news release is the first time I have ever seen an hour limit attached to the parking rate. Also, that 12-hour limit was never, ever enforced. Not by any parking lot management company in any Orange Line lot since at least 2004, when we started using those Orange Line lots regularly. Shortly after CPS installed the boxes, we asked a CPS employee how often CPS checked the lots. He told us once in the morning, after rush hour, and once in the afternoon, around 4 p.m.

    And finally, perhaps a rhetorical question: with the arrival of the new electronic boxes why can't the CTA free itself from the anachronistic idea that commuters must only pay by the 12-hour unit?

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