Hank Investigates: MBTA parking lot charges

Now only on 7: A story that will outrage every driver. Hank found: People charged for parking in lots when their cars weren’t there. You won’t believe where is this happening, and why.  Hank Investigates.

Here’s where Scott was for six days this May, in Ireland.

Here’s where Scott’s car was for those same six days: In his Winthrop driveway.

Here’s where Scott’s car wasn’t on those days: the MBTA parking lot at Orient Heights.

So why did he get these bills in the mail for parking there?

Scott: “I knew immediately, we were not here. So I immediately, I was really ticked off.”

Curt was “ticked off” for the same reason.  For six days, his car was parked on his street in Winthrop. But he also got billed for parking, six times, at the Orient Heights station.

Curt: “It’s not possible. I was never near Orient Heights.”

How did this happen? In some lots, the T lets you park, have an attendant log your plate number, and sends you a bill. After we started asking questions – the T admitted in this case parking lot attendants made a list of license plates of cars usually parked in the lot, like Scott’s and Curt’s, and just assumed they were there on other days too, and billed them! They never saw the cars!

Curt: “I’m pretty outraged.”

T officials assured us it was “an employee error” and the outside company that runs the lot assured the T that “Orient Heights was the only location affected.”

But wait. Here’s Michelle. She usually parks in Wollaston. But on May 31, she had a day off, and her car stayed in her driveway. So why did she get a bill for parking that day?

Michelle: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

When we asked the T about Michelle they admitted parking employees in Wollaston were doing the same thing: Billing from a list they’d made of frequent parkers. That’s when the T acknowledged “failure to follow procedure by staff at TWO locations.”

How often is this happening? And is it happening in other T parking lots too? The T doesn’t know. The only way to discover these phantom billings is for individual customers to check their bills.

Michelle “There’s a flaw in the system somewhere, and they need to do something.”

We repeatedly called the company the T pays to run the lots, Republic Parking, but no one ever called us back. As for the T, officials say they’ve now told staffers at all their parking lots they can’t charge for parking if they don’t actually see the car.

Did you have a parking problem? Let us know, email: tellhank@whdh.com

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