Motorists fuming over frozen parking meters

December 11, 2009 (CHICAGO) Maintenance crews were out again Friday trying to thaw the new parking meter boxes. The frozen machines just won't work. They won't take credit cards or cash.

"It cancels and says transaction cancelled. It won't let you print out the receipt," said Mike Polka. "These meters must have been made by someone in Florida."

Avis La Velle , spokesperson for Chicago Parking Meter/ LAZ Parking, the company that operates the meters, said the company has had few complaints about the meters Friday. According to La Velle, the meters are operating at about 99 percent capacity.

La Velle said LAZ Parking is working to remedy the problems with the meter malfunctions- and said motorists should call the number on the box and report it. She recommends writing down the reference number so those who are issued tickets can contest them.

"I think it's tedious. I can contest the tickets easily if I wasn't a student and didn't work, but it's either this or your education and I chose education," said Jonathan Bucio.

Motorists can contest parking tickets in person or by mail, according to the Chicago Department of Revenue. Several people showed up to the central hearing facility Friday.

"I think they are just robbing the people of their money. People work so hard for the money. I am tired of it. I am sick of it," said Rodney Lee Jones. "It is primitive. It is predatory and it's scandalous."

Jones took the day off work to have his case heard. He's not alone.

"I had to take a sick day and been sitting in court for two hours and this is ridiculous," said Jones.

"I have been here two hours and I'm still waiting and i took the day off work at this point because I can't get back to work," said Tania Glenn, motorist.

Hearing officers have access to the operations database and will be able to see that the meter was reported as inoperable if motorists have the reference number, according to La Velle. Just because the meters aren't' working doesn't mean it's a free day of parking. According to La Velle, motorists can park without penalty for the duration of time they would have been able to pay for after reporting the meter as inoperable.

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