It's been a while since I really complained about something I personally encounter in the course of my day. But today I got a parking ticket that's got me really teed-off.
But first I need to put things in context.
This morning, I was looking to catch the 9:07 train to Hicksville. Now, normally, I park at the Sears parking lot, where the Town of Oyster Bay provides a shuttle bus that takes commuters to and from the lot to the Hicksville Train Station. The last bus leaves for the station at 9:00 a.m. However, I was working late in the office tonight and did not expect to be back in time for the last shuttle bus that takes commuters back to Sears at 9:00 p.m.
Since the parking lot at Sears is quite a long way to walk on foot at night, instead I planned to try and get a spot near the ticket office at the train station this morning. Quite often, it is possible to get a good spot if you time your arrival just as an east bound train arrives at Hicksville from Penn Station. What happens is that people who work overnight shifts in the city are able to get good parking spots at the Hicksville Station at night, so if you set yourself in the right spot at 9:00 a.m., you can snag a spot as one of the overnighters pulls out.
Unfortunately, this morning I got to the station just a bit too late, so I was unsuccessful at getting a parking spot by the train station. It was already too late to go to the Sears lot and catch the shuttle bus, so the only other option was to park in the lot by the Peppercorn's restaurant at East Marie Street. The problem is, many of the spots by Peppercorn's are metered spots, so even if you have a town parking sticker, you still can be ticketed. The unmetered parking spaces in this lot set aside for town residents are normally all filled by 8:00 a.m. However, in the past, I have found that even when I parked in the metered spots, I hardly ever got a ticket. And even then, the fine was $25, which was bearable.
Well, this morning, when I got to the lot, I had no choice but to park in a metered spot. The problem is, the maximum time you can park there for a quarter is 4 hours, and the meter does not allow you to put in 2 quarters for 8 hours. I put a quarter in anyway in the hope that I would be able to squeak by and avoid a ticket. But much to my chagrin, when I got to my car tonight, I looked and saw the ticket underneath the driver's side windshield wiper.
As annoyed as I was, I resigned myself to paying another $25 or $35 fine. But when I got home a short while ago and looked at the ticket, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I saw the amount of the fine. NINETY DOLLARS! Let me repeat that. NINETY FUCKING DOLLARS for a parking spot that costs 25 cents. I'm sorry, but that is an absolutely outrageous amount of money to fine people. I guess it is a sign as to how starved our local government is for revenue that they have raised the fine for overstaying in a metered spot to such an onerous amount.
Of course, I have no choice to suck it up and pay it. And it goes without saying that I will never park in a metered spot again. Which just goes to show that hiking the fine so high might end up costing them revenue. Paying $25 here and there was an acceptable risk to me, and it ended up being extra revenue for the town. By hiking the fine to such exorbitant levels, virtually no one will end up parking in the metered spots for the day, which could end up in ticket revenues plummeting. Way to go, guys!