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Parking meter frustrations in downtown Fort Myers

Posted at 10:50 PM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 06:59:13-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Fox 4 Investigative Reporter Alan Jennings spent days in the streets of Ft Myers examining coin operated parking meter accuracy, and he discovered problems raising questions about drivers getting tickets at old faulty meters.

Jennings discovered the old meters that appear to be decades old.  In addition, his investigation turned up what appears to be a very aggressive enforcement policy, spotting a relentless army of ticket-toting agents.

To bolster their cases against drivers at expired meters, the ticket agents take pictures of the meter, and front and back photos of your car. Gotcha!  It may have been something as simple as a driver not having enough change, especially since the meters demand quarters only.

We discovered the quarter-only meters will in fact take nickels, dimes and quarters.  One driver told us he simply didn't have enough quarters.

That's not all.

We captured an on camera  exchange between a Parking Ambassador and a driver.  She told the frustrated driver once the ticket is written there is nothing that can be done. She threw up her arms and walked away, leaving a puzzled, frustrated driver holding a ticket he likely can't afford.

Fox 4 requested audits from city officials to determine how much money is collected from the coin machines, and a maintenance log to show how often the timing devices in the meters are calibrated.  As of this report, the city of Ft Myers hasn't produced the documents. 

Ft Myers has a contract with Denison Parking for meter enforcement and coin collecting.  Denison first told Fox 4 its contract with the city doesn't require their company to conduct audits.  Recently, the city notified Fox 4 that the audits do exist.  

We requested on camera interviews with the City Manager and the Denison parking.  No reply.  The Fox 4 investigation continues.