Caltrain new parking system out of control
Original post made by Philippe Bossut on Mar 7, 2007
Caltrain installed a new parking payment system at its downtown Palo Alto station recently. The new system asks you to punch your parking spot number and pay your fee. A notice of change (posted next to the old paying station) says that you do not need to put the receipt on your dashboard, the system "knows" which spots have been paid and which haven't.
Well, apparently, someone at the PA police department doesn't "know" that the system changed and I got 2 citations in the last month for inexistant parking violations. I called Caltrain (1 800 660 4287), the company managing the parking machines (1 800 877 9984), no one wants to take responsibility for the state of affair. Great...
The Caltrain employee I had on the phone told me that I was the first one to complain about this. Still, on March 1st I saw that almost every single car in the same parking lot I was got a citation. I can't believe that everyone "cheated" that day so I'm assuming that lots of other customers did like me, paid their fee and got fined anyhow.
OK, I'll fight the citation (more hassle, more work for all of us...) but, clearly, for this to change Caltrain PA customers need to put pressure on Caltrain so that Caltrain informs the PA Police department of the change and tell them how they can check the system so that they stop fining people at random... Start calling them and explain your issue: 1 800 660 4287
- Grumpy Caltrain rider Philippe
on Mar 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm
I have always found that new, emerging tochnology is great until it is administered by knuckleheads.
Ben: This is your fathers lightsabre, Luke.
Luke: What good is it? It makes a lousy hammer.
It seems to me that someone missed out on the portion of the contract that called for training.
This is really quite funny until you consider the grief it is going to cause for innocent people who have done nothing wrong. I move that all parking citations handed out in that location be dropped immediately and notices of apology be posted on all the machines, and that this be done as fast as possible.
on Mar 7, 2007 at 7:59 pm
Philippe, while I have tremendous sympathy for your receiving not one but two parking tickets at the Caltrain's parking lot, it seems that you only tackled one half of your problem - Caltrains. I suggest you call the Lieutenant in charge of the Traffic Department in the Palo Alto Police Department and tell him/her about "the notice of change" posted next to the old paying station. The daytime phone number is: 650-329-2406. I hope this is fixed by the time I leave my car in a Caltrains parking lot. Thanks for your efforts.
on Mar 7, 2007 at 8:57 pm
Answering to the previous comment: you're right, I could have followed up and call the police department. However, I later discovered that the Caltrain parking lot is handled by the San Mateo County Transit District as it is mentioned on the citation. Therefore, my initial report was wrong and the PAPD shouldn't be blamed for anything here. I apologize to them.
Still, I stand corrected: Caltrain changed the system and should have informed and trained the SMCTD or whoever is in charge of enforcing the rules. Counting on harrassed parking patrons to carry the information is not a very responsible way to handle this.