The money-eating parking machine up the street is in slot machine mode again. I park there regularly when I stop in to Silver Lion or Purrfect Pets or Tasty Korea (yes I had some yummy Korean food for lunch today). I used to ignore the machine and take my chances but the guy they have ticketing offenders like me these days is lightning fast. Now I keep a bunch of nickels in the car and take that extra few seconds to feed the money into the machine and extract my ticket.
Over the past week or so, it’s been impossible to predict the outcome. Sometimes it takes my nickel and spits out the ticket. Other times, it takes my nickel and does nothing else (I’d appreciate a satisfied burp at least). Then there are days like today, when it pays out. Today I scored 60 cents. One thing is certain. If the machine fails to spit out the ticket and I park there anyway, Buddy is going to appear as if by magic with his ticketing book. Being the responsible citizen I am, I called 311 when I got home to report the problem.
This is not the first time I’ve reported the same problem. The very same machine was acting up maybe a year ago and I called it in. The 311 person put me through to the Toronto Parking Authority, where I talked to a nice fellow who took the information. I explained that I wouldn’t really care much about the broken machine except for the lightning fast guy dishing out tickets. The parking authority guy showed appropriate empathy.
I don’t have anything against the ticketing guy personally. He’s just a guy doing his job. In fact, the last time he almost nabbed me, he had started into writing the ticket but let me off the hook with snarky comment, “ya could have put a nickel in the machine.” I said, “you know, you’re right.” And just like that I became a born again parker. Yes, that’s when I started carrying around nickels.
On the west side of the Lakeshore strip through Long Branch, you can park for free. Then at a certain point the machines appear. Why do west-side Long Branchers rate free parking while east-side Long Branchers have to pay? Personally, I’d be OK paying say $20 a year more property tax if it meant we could rid ourselves of the whole parking infrastructure in Long Branch. Of course, if they didn’t charge for parking and they didn’t have the machines, they wouldn’t need to have a guy ticketing people, and I understand people need jobs. I wonder if that guy generates enough ticket revenue to pay for his wages?
Of course, the truth is I should have left the car at home and biked up to Tasty Korea to get lunch. Mea culpa.