Any driver who challenges a parking ticket — in person, in writing or online — is offered a substantial, guaranteed reduction for most fines, under a program the city quietly introduced in 2005.
Plead guilty to parking at an expired meter in Midtown, for example, and agree to forgo a hearing, and the city will immediately reduce the fine from $65 to $43. No questions asked.
But most people who get tickets, about 80 percent by city estimates, do not challenge them and still simply pay the full fine.
While the willingness to pay full freight may be evidence of civic zeal, it also appears to be an outgrowth of the fact that public knowledge of the program remains slight.
The city has never produced a press release on the program, whose existence has enabled it to reduce the cost of holding hearings on the 10 million tickets it issues each year. Nor is the policy, known as the settlement program, described in the city’s official brochure “Got Tickets? Your Guide to Parking Ticket Hearings.”
City Will Slash That Parking Fine, if You Ask