MBTA program curbs parking fee scofflaws

After cracking down on hundreds of fee evaders at MBTA parking lots, the T in February is scheduled to launch a monthly prepaid parking program for lots with honor boxes.

After cracking down on hundreds of fee evaders at MBTA parking lots, the T in February is scheduled to launch a monthly prepaid parking program for lots with honor boxes.

The T has collected $22,300 in overdue parking fees since November. Orange stickers are placed on the windshields of parking scofflaws before a warning letter is mailed. If they still don’t pay, their car is towed.

The T is targeting offenders with 10 or more violations.

MBTA General Manager Rich Davey said it’s cost prohibitive to install gates at honor box lots.

“It’s our obligation at the MBTA to look for every fare dollar we possibly can,” he said.

The T’s deficit could soon balloon to $100 million. Fare revenue only accounts for about 25 percent of the MBTA budget.

“It’s kind of a Band-Aid on a situation that really needs to be stitched up in surgery,” Stuart Spina of the T Riders Association said of the parking crackdown. “But it’s an interesting tactic.”

The T also lets drivers prepay via cellphone.

“I hope in the near future folks will be able to use their Charlie Cards to pay,” Davey said.

Where’s my prize?

Currently 66 MBTA parking lots — 24,546 spaces — use the honor system. Numbered spaces match marked payment slots customers stuff $4 into.

Those who don’t pay face $1 fine. The T is owed $1 million in outstanding fines.

“Our parking system is antiquated,” Davey said. “You put your dollar in the honor box and it’s like a carnival game with no prize.”

 
 
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