Ask Dan Weiss, who lives with his wife on Fifth Street in Downtown Jersey City.
On March 11, Weiss got the "boot," a steel contraption that the city places around one of the tires of a person's car for parking without a proper permit.
Jersey City requires a permit for each of the city's nine permit zones. Those who park in the zone without the right permit for more than two hours can get a $42 ticket and a $110 boot.
The Jersey City Reporter first looked at the issue of the boot in the March 9 article "Unfair boot? Get back your loot!"How Dan Weiss got a boot
Recently, Weiss was irked when he got a boot on a loaner car he was using.
"I brought my car into the shop after it broke down, and got a loaner," he said. "Maybe I should have missed an hour of work to go up to Central Avenue to get a temporary pass for my one-day loaner car. Instead, I chose to leave a note on the dash explaining that I am a resident and my permitted car was briefly in the shop on this particular day."
Weiss noted, "At 10:23 a.m., a boot was slapped on my car. I have to pay an insane $110 for the boot, plus a $42 parking fine."
Weiss said a boot is too severe for first-time offenders with no prior tickets.
"The Parking Authority, as a public service agency, ought to have a reasonable process that demonstrates that it serves the citizens of Jersey City," he said. What should Dan have done?
According to the Jersey City Parking Authority, even if it was inconvenient for Weiss to come to the Parking Authority's Central Avenue office, he should have gotten a one-day visitor's permit, costing $3, or several of them for each day his car was going to be in the shop.
This permit contains a calendar on the front of the permit that allows the customer to scratch off the date of use. Once scratched off, it becomes invalid for future use.
But can a resident leave a note on his or her car if there is a problem?
The Parking Authority also says that enforcement officers use their discretion when dealing with notes left on cars. Some may not even see the note before beginning the ticketing process. They encourage residents to call the Parking Authority to explain their situation before leaving a note. How to fight your boot
When someone is booted, the Jersey City Parking Authority (JCPA) places the boot on a tire and gives the person a $42 ticket for the parking violation. In order for the boot to be removed, a driver has to call an automated collector and pay a $110 fine to be able to remove the boot over the phone. Then, the customer will receive a code that he can enter into the computerized keypad on the boot to unlock it.
From the $110 fine, $75 goes to the JCPA budget, and $35 goes to the company responsible for the boots.
But if a boot was placed in error, the Parking Authority Board of Commissioners can vote to reimburse $75 of the $110 fine at their monthly meeting once it is approved by Mark Russ, CEO of the Parking Authority.
In order to let the Parking Authority know about a boot placed in error, a resident must follow a complaint procedure whereby they can do one of three things: write a letter and submit documentation to Russ stating why the boot was placed in error, call the Parking Authority at (201) 653-6969 where an employee will field any complaints for further investigation and place it in a logbook, or go directly to the Parking Authority headquarters at 394 Central Ave. and fill out a complaint form that will be logged.
However, residents are not able to recover the $35 portion of the fine that goes to the private booting company, PayLock, which is based in Sayreville. Comments on this story can be sent to email@example.com.