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Parking Authority to change booting system, increase fines to $110

Ricardo Kaulessar Reporter Staff Writer

Starting in September, parking violators in Jersey City who find a "boot" on their cars will be able to remove it quickly by paying over the phone.

This and other changes are being instituted by the Parking Authority over the next few months.

The new booting system starts in early August but will not be completely implemented until after Labor Day. Those penalized with a steel boot for violations like parking without a proper permit can call an automated collector and pay over the phone.

Then, the customer will receive a code that they can enter into the computerized keypad on the boot.

Since July 1 of last year, the Parking Authority has collected approximately $550,000 in booting fines. And starting in September, booting fines will climb from $75 to $110.

In other changes, a new centralized meter machine, or "multi-space machine," will replace regular meters as a city public parking lot at 701 Newark Ave. There, customers can enter the number of the space where they are parked, put in their payments, and get a receipt.

Several other parking lots will get these meters before year's end.

Parking Authority Executive Director Mark Russ said recently the new initiatives are part of the agency's efforts to become more efficient.

"We can free many Parking Authority employees to do other tasks in the city such as more enforcement against illegal parking and other parking violations," Russ said.

Computerized permits

Also, in April, the Parking Authority implemented a new computer system that prints out a parking permit when a customer requests a yearly permit.

An annual parking permit costs $10 for residents and $300 for non-residents.

There are 10 different zones in Jersey City requiring permits. Those who park in a zone for which they do not have a permit can park for up to two hours. But beyond that limit, they can either expect a $42 ticket or, in several areas in the city, a ticket and steel boot.

Russ said that an audit showed that his department didn't have a good accounting of how many permits were issued, or the revenues for the permits.

"We were buying them in cases of 1,000, and they had a date and year on it," Russ said. "So if we sold only 500 in a year, then we were left with 500 that could never be used again."

Cost savings

The changes are meant to save time and money.

After a boot is removed from a customer's car, the customer will be able to return it within 48 hours to locations set up around the city, rather than traveling to the Central Avenue office of the Parking Authority.

But Russ said the Parking Authority will still be involved in the booting process.

"They can also return the boots to our office [on Central Avenue], and if you weren't able to pay by phone, we would be dispatched to remove the boot," Russ said.

Russ said the reason that booting fines will be increased is that it allows for the Parking Authority to collect $75, while the other $35 will be going to PayLock in Sayreville for the cost of the boots and the automated service.

New meters

Regarding the new multi-space meters, Russ said the old meters cost about $550 each to purchase and required constant maintenance because they jam.

The new machines, designed by Metric Parking of Cranbury, N.J., cost $14,000 each. They can do the work of at least 50 meters.

Russ said the profits from the first machine will go into purchasing the second machine, and so on.

"The parking enforcement officer, all he has to do is to go to the machine, plug into the machine, and he'll see who is in violation," Russ said.

Russ said that ground has been broken for the next machine to be installed at a public parking lot with 80 meters at 330 Central Ave., blocks from the Parking Authority office.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com