Atlanta’s parking enforcement agencies have never exactly been considered forgiving.
When Park Atlanta’s eight-year contract with the City of Atlanta expired in 2017, many hoped the newcomer, ATLPlus, would drop what was deemed “predatory” ticketing and booting practices.
Since ATLPlus is still relatively new to Atlanta, it’s too soon to say definitively if the agency is better or worse than its predecessor.
But a study by Expedia’s rental car aggregate CarRentals.com at least sheds some light on the big bucks behind the parking enforcement industry in Atlanta and beyond.
Among the 16 major U.S. cities analyzed, parking tickets reeled in more than $1.4 billion a year for local governments.
Relative to the numbers some other cities are facing, Atlantans might consider themselves somewhat lucky to have ATLPlus.
Parking tickets in Atlanta generate $5.5 million for the city per year, according to the study.
That’s an average of $11.85 per Atlantan per year.
When the Atlanta City Council okayed ATLPlus’s contract in late 2016, as ParkAtlanta’s agreement was set to expire, officials estimated the new company would earn roughly $13.5 million annually, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
About $7 million of that would have gone to the city, per the agreement—a nice pay bump, relative to roughly $5 million from ParkAtlanta.
City of Atlanta officials have not yet responded to Curbed Atlanta’s inquiries regarding the authenticity of CarRental’s data, which the company says came from city financial audits.
Nevertheless, the numbers suggest that Atlanta isn’t raking in nearly as much from parking tickets as some other cities.
New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco apparently collect $545, $135, and $99.4 million per year, respectively.
That means the average San Franciscan is shelling out about $111 annually in parking ticket fees.
The study also states “Atlanta has an outstanding parking ticket debt of over $34 million, making many residents question the operations and interests of a third-party vendor.”
CarRental’s research found that the typical Atlanta motorists spends about 50 hours searching for parking spots every year
“On average, U.S. drivers spend 17 hours per year searching for a parking spot at a cost of $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel, and emissions,” per the study.
The annual search cost in Atlanta was clocked at $1,043.