Chicago Parking App Doesn’t Always Connect Properly in Areas with Poor Cellphone Coverage; Generates False Tickets

ParkChicago App Built by Passport — the Builder of the Parking App with a Soft Rollout in Arlington Heights, September 9, 2019

Some app users have been getting expired meter tickets when they should not. CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker reports.

To some frustrated parking patrons, The City of Chicago seems to have a digital version of the Lincoln Park Pirates — referring to the Steve Goodman song with the same name about Lincoln Towing Service. The towing company has long been accused of towing cars without legal grounds, and threatening people who tried to reclaim automobiles without paying.

The digital version of parking enforcement that is causing problems for parking patrons in the City of Chicago is known as the ParkChicago app. CBS Chicago and other Chicago media sources report that parking violations are being imposed, even though patrons have properly paid for a session or time segment for a particular parking space.

If the patron has done everything according to the app’s instructions, the problem might be caused by a failed network connection. People are parking and paying for a session, but the enforcement network isn’t getting the information from the patrons’ apps when there is a poor wireless connection. One patron, who found a ticket on his car 25 minutes after he paid for a parking space with the app, was fortunate to find the enforcement agent walking along the sidewalk, was able to prove to the agent that he was 25 minutes into a 90-minute session, and was satisfied with an instant resolution. When he caught up with the enforcement agent, there was no record on the enforcement device that the patron had paid for the parking spot 25 minutes prior. The enforcement agent, holding the portable enforcement device or tablet, told the patron that the company has had some issues with the system, where sometimes “it doesn’t update for five minutes.” However, this patron apparently suffered from an update that didn’t occur for 25 minutes. Apparently, there are many patrons reporting problems involving up to 20 minutes delay. These patrons aren’t so lucky, and have to waste time filing for resolution and refund.

ParkChicago’s Statement
“In rare instances, sometimes wireless connectivity between a parking enforcement official’s tablet and the main database runs slow.”

— ParkChicago

CBS Chicago’s Dorothy Tucker found that thousands of people have been falsely charged. ParkChicago will dismiss the tickets, but that takes time, and the burden is on the patron to bring the error to the attention of ParkChicago. Dorothy Tucker urged falsely-charged patrons to make sure they fight the false charges.

An older Passport logo is displayed at the footer of the parkchicago.com website, but on Wednesday September 25, 2019, the link connected with the logo doesn’t refer to another page, and there is no readily-available referral that mentions the ParkChicago app is built by Passport.

Older Passport parking app logo displayed on ParkChicago.com on Wednesday September 25, 2019
Older Passport parking app logo displayed on ParkChicago.com on Wednesday September 25, 2019.

According to an article published April 3, 2019 on the Passport blog, the City of Chicago as well as the towns and villages near Chicago have been using the ParkChicago app, made by Passport, to pay for parking on the go in the city’s more than 36,000 on-street parking spaces. The company says the Passport-built app is also used at over 70 Metra park-and-ride lots along Chicago’s commuter line. Passport reported that Chicagoans had used the Passport-powered apps over 40 million times in the previous 5 years to pay for parking from the convenience of their smartphones.

The Village of Arlington began a soft rollout of the Passport Parking app on Monday, September 9, 2019 for use at parking garages and surface lots.

See also …
ParkChicago.com

Metra commuters and Chicagoans have used PassportParking® and ParkChicago apps over 40 million times

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CARDINAL NEWS | Village of Arlington Heights Begins Soft Roll Out of Mobile Parking App “Passport” in Parking Garages and Surface Lots

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