Patrol Supervisor David Armstrong is out looking for out-of-province offenders who park illegally and break city parking laws on a regular basis.
He spots a vehicle with an Alberta plate parked illegally in a no-stopping zone. Armstrong runs the licence plate and the numbers pop-up to reveal 227 outstanding tickets and 173 unpaid fines.
There are almost 8,000 vehicles in Toronto with out-of-province plates deemed habitual offenders by Toronto Parking Enforcement – and the city is ready to enforce the law and tow such offenders.
Anyone with three or more parking tickets or unpaid tickets for more than 120 days is a habitual offender and will be towed when parked illegally according to Brian Moniz, Operations Supervisor with Parking Enforcement. Since there are no by-laws to enforce payment of tickets of out-of-province offenders, this is one way to change behaviour.
Moniz adds that those with out-of-province plates, only 15 percent actually pay their tickets – from a total of 150,000 who are tagged annually.
The effort to curb such incidents comes after Mayor Tory’s six-point plan to ease congestion and gridlock in the city. So far the Service has targeted rush-hour routes, habitual offenders, distracted drivers and, starting this week, out-of-province habitual offenders.
While the law requires someone who becomes a resident of Ontario to register their vehicles in Ontario, there are many who simply don’t do that.
A blatant violation of parking laws by such vehicle owners is what causes congestion and gridlock, says Moniz, and the plan to tow them falls under the six-point plan.
Of the many abuses of parking regulations by out-of-province vehicle owners, the most visible ones are those who occupy paid-permit parking areas. However, there are also many courier companies in the downtown core operating with out-of-province plates.
A list of the top out-of-province offenders reveals that the first 10 plates with the most tags in the downtown core belong to a courier service – with one of their trucks tagged more than 700 times.
In an eight-hour shift, Armstrong sees gross violation by the courier services over and over again. While he does ticket them, he can now tow them if they have unpaid tickets for more than 120 days. In a 15-minute period, Armstrong observes one courier van park illegally in a no-stopping zone, then park in a bike lane and then park in a laneway for more than the allotted 10 minutes.
“They do it all day,” says Armstrong.
According to Moniz, tagging and towing of out-of-province vehicles will be strictly enforced now.
“This is the new normal of doing business,” he says. Hopefully it will cause a change in public behaviour, he adds.