Meter Enforcement Drives Business Away


She said, 'I'm sorry, sir, the ticket is already issued.'

Today when I parked my car on Park Street and put coins in my meter, I realized that I had grabbed way too many coins so I left a couple in my pocket.

When I started walking toward Toy Safari with my son I saw a meter maid stopping her little car to issue a ticket to someone parked nearby. So I reached in my pocket and put the two coins in the meter for the car. (I had no idea whose car it was, I was just being a Good Samaritan).

The meter miad got out of her little car and back in again, and when I got inside the Toy Safari I looked outside and saw the little car with nobody inside of it. Then I realized the meter lady had chased me inside of the store to ask me if that was my car. I told her that was not my car, it was my friend's car.

She said: "I don't believe you. It's illegal to feed the meter for a car that is not yours." I told her that it was my friend's car and that I did not want my friend to get a ticket.

She did not even care. She went ahead and issued the ticket even though the meter still had 5 minutes to go.

I told the story to the lady that works at Toy Safari and thought to myself, "I should check on my car before teaching my martial arts class at noon."

My car was parked right on the corner. I was walking to my car when I saw another meter maid walking down the street in the opposite direction coming toward my car. When she got to my car she start doing her little dance of giving my car a ticket. I told her that was my car that I had put two quarters in the meter for 30 minutes and it had not even been 20 minutes. She said, "I'm sorry, sir, the ticket is already issued."

I thought she was playing with me, so I started my car and she came and put the ticket on my window. I could't believe it! I have been a business owner in Alameda since 2008 and I could not believe that someone had just been desperately pressing the red button that makes parking meter ladies come from nowhere and issue tickets left and right.

I have been putting on events in Alameda since 2009 bringing tons of business here. Every tournament brings from 300 to 600 athletes and some 1,000 to 1,500 spectators. We usually give away raffl e prizes for local restaurants that bring 30 to 50 people to one single restaurant.

I began thinking very seriously about whether or not to put another tournament together since parking has been such a hassle for so many people.

Today I visited a couple of Park Street businesses. The business owners were pretty upset at how the meter maids have been treating the general public — with horrible customer service.

Again these people are parking their cars to spend their money in the local businesses. They might buy something at Tot Tank, eat lunch at the Ark or get some coffee at Peet's or Starbucks. If they start cracking down on people here in Alameda even though they are putting money in their meters, then people will go somewhere else to buy things.

I, for sure, will not go to Toy Safari as much any more to buy anything since now I will have to pay $38 for some ticket that was not fair at all.

Before the meter maid came to my car I had already put money in my meter and she still issued the ticket.

Sergio Silva is an Alameda business owner.



0 #1 Amir the mysterious 2012-09-05 14:50
Obviously these meter maids are on a mission. They must be a duo, ha.

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