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Firm Driving Away Parking Violators’ Holiday Blues

Times Staff Writer

The nice seem to get all the goodies this time of year. But here’s a company that wants to make the naughty happy at Christmastime.

Through Wednesday, parkingticket.com promises to take up your fight -- free of charge -- against those holiday-cheer-sapping parking tickets. Providing the city hall you are fighting is in San Francisco, New York or Washington.

“We want the good spirits to flow and we don’t want anybody’s holiday ruined by a parking ticket,” said Glen Bolofsky, president of the company just outside New York City.

The firm has been in business since 1982 but went digital two years ago, Bolofsky said. This is the first year it is offering a Christmas bonus to America’s scofflaws, as well as to innocent victims of quota-meeting traffic enforcement officers. Bolofsky claims a 70% success rate in having tickets dismissed.

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“Lots of times, tickets are written improperly,” he said. “They’ll have the wrong make of the vehicle. In San Francisco, they are required to include the last four digits of the VIN” -- the vehicle identification number. “That’s often missing.”

Customers typically pay half the cost of the ticket to parkingticket.com and fill out an online questionnaire listing the reasons they think the ticket was issued unfairly. The company then uses the information to draft a letter to the city requesting dismissal.

Many tickets are thrown out at that level, Bolofsky said. If the city refuses to budge and finds the defendant guilty, the company sends an appeal letter. If that is rejected, parkingticket.com refunds the customer’s fee, Bolofsky said.

Bolofsky’s business is built on the realization that parking tickets are much more of an inconvenience than they used to be. The ticket fee schedule in San Francisco ranges from $15 for an off-street parking meter violation to $275 for blocking access to a parking spot for the handicapped.

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Why only three cities? And why these three cities? Basically, it’s all about where the opportunity is. New York was chosen because the company started there and because “I grew up disliking the parking,” Bolofsky said. As for Washington, “That’s the closest major city to us that issues a large quantity of tickets.”

And San Francisco? Bolofsky sees it as a potential mother lode of parking enforcement victims. San Francisco has about one-fifth the population of Los Angeles and only 850 miles of streets, compared with Los Angeles’ 7,366 miles of roads. And the Northern California city’s traffic officers write more parking tickets -- 4 million a year -- Bolofsky said. That’s almost six for every man, woman and child counted in the 2000 census.


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