BANGOR, Maine — Bangor’s parking tickets take a step into the 21st Century this week.
“We’re doing away with the old-school method of chalking tires,” Jason Bird, community and economic development officer, said Monday.
On Tuesday, the city switches to an electronic parking citation system — an effort to increase the efficiency of parking enforcement, ease the fine payment process, and help the city get a better grasp on identifying repeat offenders.
City employees, overseen by the Bangor Police Department, will still monitor parking on foot patrols through downtown, but rather than keeping paper records, the information will be uploaded with a handheld electronic device to a database that will automatically notify the employee if the vehicle has exceeded its time limit or if that vehicle has had more than one violation in the past 90 days.
Republic Parking offered this new equipment to the city as part of its five-year contract renewal bid, which it won late last year. Republic oversees the city’s parking garage, as well as Abbot Square, the Columbia Street deck, downtown permit lots, as well as lots at Bangor International Airport. The city’s relationship with the Chattanooga-based parking management firm dates back 16 years.
The city doesn’t anticipate an increase in revenue generated from parking tickets, according to Bird, but does hope that the change will result in a more frequent turnover in parking spots.
There’s no parking shortage downtown, Bird said, because there is an abundance of spots in the parking garage and in other city lots that are close to downtown businesses. However, parking just outside some of those businesses can be in short supply, especially with construction around West Market Square. The more accurate electronic monitoring system might prompt people to follow the time limits more closely.
“We expect and hope that this further improves the parking situation downtown,” Bird said.
Anyone who gets a parking ticket still has the option of visiting the police department to pay their fine, sending their payment in by mail or calling 207-947-7382.
To pay a ticket online, visit www.payvats.com.
The city’s relationship with Republic Parking was called into question in July of last year when the council rejected a pair of proposals that would have extended Republic’s contracts to run parking operations in Bangor’s downtown and at the airport.
At the time, several councilors expressed discontent with Republic Parking management and responsiveness toward customer and council concerns. They said Republic officials hadn’t returned earlier messages in which they hoped to address concerns brought to them by Bangor residents.
Republic worked closely with city officials to ensure those concerns were addressed and offered to improve lighting at the parking garage as well as upgrading the city’s downtown parking monitoring systems. Since then, Republic also has offered a new plan to extend the hours of the parking garage, which has been approved by the city.