HOLYOKE Remembering arguing with a parking clerk about whether or not you deserved a parking ticket? That you still had money left on the meter? That your car wasn't even in the parking spot in question?
A new ticketing system brought in by Police Chief Anthony Scott will take any argument out of a parking ticket. Introduced last week by Scott, the VcitePlus system uses a special paper ticket and a pen that transfer an officer's writing directly to a Web site. The officer then photographs the car in the offending position, which also is uploaded to www.payholyoke.com. The system uses GPS technology to show exactly where the car was located as well.
Scott said the citation and photo appear almost instantly on the Web site, which is where the citation can be paid.
The system of 11 pens and special cell phones cost the city $29,000, which Scott obtained with a grant. He said it would save city personnel considerable time in transcribing by hand the information officers bring in with parking violations. The city will be paying a $10 fee a month fee for the use of the cell phones, he said.
The GPS aspect of the system will allow the police to chart parking violations to establish trends that need to be addressed, Scott added.
Scott said that there are a "fairly substantial number of contested parking tickets" each year and often times the city will settle for less money. With this system, there is far less opportunity for any discussion.
Scott believes revenues for the city from parking tickets will increase not because officers will be writing more tickets, but because the tickets will not be dismissed.
Davis Draper, the national sales director for Velosum the Utah-based company that developed the system, said that ticket dismissal rates generally falls from 40 percent in communities using the system to 5 percent.
The cameras can photograph the meters next to the calls to prove the time has ended and Scott said he is going to ask the Department of Public Works to change the color of the expired sign on the meters to red for easier determination.
Parking violations are just the beginning for the system, Scott said. Once the Police Department is used to writing parking tickets, Scott would like to have his officers writing other kinds of citations for municipal ordinance violations. He believes the Board of Health could also use the system for health code violations.
One aspect of the system will remain the same you still will receive a standard paper ticket under your windshield wiper.