Ticket toll takes off at Transpo Park & Rides

City nets $379Gs in fines as drivers make own spots at packed lots

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/03/28/ticket-toll-takes-off-at-transpo-park–rides

Thanh To rarely has a problem finding a prime spot at the Eagleson Park & Ride in Kanata, which holds 1,185 vehicles.

Then again, he’s usually the first person to arrive around 4 a.m., missing the onslaught of tickets.

“I take the first bus every morning,” said To, who works as a chef downtown.

“That’s why I get my first spot here. Hopefully, I won’t lose it,” he said, laughing.

He’s been taking the bus for about 30 years.

Just once, while working an afternoon shift and strapped for an open space, To came back to find a $75 ticket.

On the other hand, Dewan Khan said he’s never gotten fined at Eagleson, “because when I go, I come early to get the spot. It takes time to get the spot, but you get the spot,” he said.

The rest of Ottawa’s suburban commuters can’t say the same.

With lots bursting at the seams, many are creating their own spaces and parking illegally on a daily basis, and they’re paying a small fortune in fines.

From 2008 to Feb. 28, 2012, the city collected $379,408.90 in gross revenue from ticketing cars in urban Park & Ride lots across Ottawa, the Sun has learned through an Access to Information request.

A total of 7,853 tickets were issued and 6,491 have been settled.

Riders are especially getting dinged at Eagleson East.

In the first two months of 2012 alone, OC Transpo handed out 213 tickets just at that station.

So far, 131 have been paid, generating $7,137.50 in revenue for the city from that location alone.

In comparison, 748 tickets were issued at Eagleson East in all of 2011 — 611 were paid, translating into $33,708.75.

Eagleson East topped the list both years.

Riders said the bus picks them up from the east lot, then heads straight onto the Transitway.

On the return trip, they’re dropped off by the west lot.

“So it’s a matter of ‘do you want to be closer to your car at night or in the morning?’ ” said Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley.

“I’ve never heard of anyone saying that they prefer one over the other. It’s really just, where is there a spot when they go in?”

Other stations such as Baseline — which ranked first in tickets from 2008 to 2010 — Fallowfield, Greenboro and Place D’Orleans have also been huge money-makers.

Transpo’s safety and enforcement branch patrols all lots on a regular basis “to ensure that improperly parked vehicles are not impeding the access of emergency response and maintenance vehicles or contribute to an unsafe environment for customers and transit riders,” said security chief Kim Weston-Martin.

For Hubley, roadblocks are a concern.

“If somebody has a heart attack there or a car catches fire, we could have a real disaster on our hands,” he said.

Hubley is encouraging riders to use the new Park & Ride at Scotiabank Place, which has 100 spaces, to help alleviate overcrowding at Eagleson.

This year, the city has already pocketed $17,008.75 from creative parking mishaps across Ottawa.

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