Pesky Outstanding Parking Fines – A Headache for Parking Managers.
On a quest for information, I allocated some time over the past year and talked to various people who manage parking. What I stumbled across was a common challenge talked about;
How do I collect outstanding revenues from tickets? What are others doing to collect these revenues?
When managing parking there is a common goal. That is to ensure there’s enough space available and to avoid congestion. To reach that goal parking managers must bring in enforcement to issue citations for people who don’t follow the indicated rules and cause the well-oiled machine of parking management to stop. If those infractions remain unpaid, a significant amount of revenues end up creating a receivable nightmare for organizations. And the truth is no one wants to write off a substantial amount of uncollected revenues.
So I dug in and did some research to help find some possible solutions to this pesky problem.
Some compounded factors can cause outstanding ticket revenues to sit uncollected. The most prominent cause, however, is convenience and absence of incentives. If you incorporate those into your business model, you most likely will see a decrease in uncollected revenues.
In today’s world, the most significant incentive is convenience. The easier it is for someone, the more likely the process will occur. That is just one reason why utilizing a cloud-based software system allowing an online payment option is vital. If you don’t have one in place, it may be time to invest in one that can offer ease of use to pay for those infractions online easily at their convenience without needing your administration.
Now, what if you already have a cloud-based permit and enforcement system in place, what are your options? There are a few incentive strategies that some operations have put in place that have had some positive results in collecting outstanding parking fines when compared to previous years.
One strategy is offering a discount for early payment to the person with an infraction. The parking office would have their regular fine listed. There would be an early payment option that would give the driver a slight discount for that offense, provided they make payment within the time frame listed. The time frame is generally within 1-2 days of receiving the ticket. After that period, the normal ticket fee would apply. The Town of Perth and Carleton University both using OPS-COM implement this strategy.
Another option is incorporating a ticket amnesty arrangement. This allows individuals with specific outstanding tickets written within a particular time frame to pay the original fine without the late penalty fees added. Majority of the amnesty arrangements have a start and end date associated with the time frame of the issuance of the tickets. This could offer an increase in outstanding fee collection after implementation when compared to previous years.
Another option that some police services have implemented is extreme discounts for outstanding violations. If you do carry a high revenue of outstanding parking fines then offering this type of incentive might be an option within a specific period for tickets that are over a certain amount. These have seen positive results when compared to fines brought in from previous years.
More recently, is an implemented diversion program. This is where students can choose to participate in an educational program to reduce or eliminate their citation fee. You can only partake once in an academic year. The idea being that by offering education on campus policies and procedures, you create better campus citizens.
As we all know collections is a last resort since what you get back is very little. If I can offer some alternatives and solutions on some incentives that could position our clients with a positive result, that is time well spent!
Keep in mind by enforcing parking rules you could see a 26% increase in revenues according to NRMA’s 2015 Parking Report. Don’t be scared to hand out those tickets!