Income-based parking fines? New proposal being considered by Boston City Council

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Thursday, February 27, 2020
Income-based parking tickets? Boston city council considers new proposal
Boston is considering a change to the way it handles parking tickets after a city counselor introduced a proposal for income-based parking fines.

BOSTON (WPVI) -- Boston is considering a change to the way it handles parking tickets. A city counselor has introduced a proposal for income-based parking fines.

Everyone knows that sinking feeling of spotting a parking ticket on your windshield.

A parking fine in Boston can range from $15 to $120.

"Everything I've done has always been about my lived experience," said Julia Mejia, Boston City Council.

And for first term Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia, that meant paying off $159 worth of parking fines before she took office.

So now, she's asking the council to consider whether there's a way to base the cost of a ticket on a driver's income.

"What happens when you're struggling to juggle all your finances, then you realize that you are either deciding whether or not you are going to pay a parking ticket, or put food on your table," said Mejia.

Another possibility would be to allow a driver to pay a fine over time.

But as always, the devil is in the details.

How would someone prove they have a low income? And would they have to take time away from work to go to City Hal with that proof?

"No way how that would be enforced. What would you do, bring your W2 or your income tax form?" said one resident.

WBZ-TV brought the idea to people on the street - and got an earful.

"If you park where you're not supposed to park, pay the price," one person said.

"Someone who obviously doesn't make a lot of money and is trying to get to their job for some reason, like, I feel like it makes sense to give people the benefit of the doubt," said another.

The city council decided to at least talk about it.

"I don't think people should just get away from paying their fee. I think that we have to find ways to be able to make it easier for people to pay that debt," said Mejia

The next step in the process would be a public hearing.

No date has been set for that yet.