The city of Montreal changed its parking meters in 2004. Montreal’s parking meters were replaced with new multi-spot parking meters. Each parking spot in the city was numbered. Every few meters on the block a digital parking meter was installed. Accepting both Canadian coins and credit cards they allow you to purchase parking time.

Montreal’s multi-spot parking meters are solar powered. All credit cards are authorized before payment is accepted therefore fraudulent credit cards do not work on them. Parking spots are electronically monitored and parking police are dispatched to expired spots to check for illegally parked cars. The meters will not allow you to purchase time during no parking times, such as during rush hour.

How to Park in Montreal

After parking your car at a numbered parking spot you memorise your parking spot number. You then find the nearest multi-spot parking meter, enter the number of your parking spot and deposit your payment. The meter will print a receipt for you. You do not place this ticket on the dash of your car. The meter also informs the parking monitoring center a spot has been occupied.

When the time expires on the parking spot, the parking police are dispatched to check if you are still parked there. A ticket is issued if your car is found to be parked in an expired parking spot.

There is a maximum amount of time that you can purchase and you should wait for the entire hour to expire before you purchase more time. If you pay for more time before your first block of time expires then any remaining time from your first block will be lost. For example of you bought one hour of time and after 45 minutes you buy another hour you will lose 15 minutes that you paid for from your first hour.

This payment system allows for the city to double charge for the same parking spot. If you leave your parking spot before your time on the meter has finished the person parking after you will still have to pay for that time. They will not know that there was still time on the meter and will pay as they normally would for the time on that parking spot. The old single spot meters used to indicate the time remaining.

You can pay for any spot in the city from any multi-spot parking meter. So even if you have parked your car a few blocks away from where you are, all you have to do is find a multi-spot meter and enter your parking spot number and deposit your payment. Since you do not leave your receipt on the dashboard you will not have to return to your car.

There are some flaws in this system. People have wrongly received tickets for being illegally parked. If someone incorrectly enters your parking spot number instead of theirs, they will reset the time on your spot. The time on your spot might run out sooner that you had paid for. Parking police are dispatched when you spot expires and since receipts for parking spots do not have to be placed on the dash of your car they will issue you a ticket.

Parking Problems

The potential for abuse of this system exists. Most of these problems exist because the city wants to increase its profits by double charging for parking spots.

Intentional Tickets

This method does involve a large investment in time. In order save a few dollars you will have to spend a few hours fighting your ticket in court.

  • Park your car and pay for 30 minutes. Keep your receipt.
  • Wait 2 minutes and pay for again for 5 minutes. Discard this receipt.
  • After 5 minutes the parking police will be dispatched and will issue you a ticket.
  • The time on the ticket will be less than the 30 minutes that you have a receipt for.
  • You can now leave your car parked for a few hours. Usually the parking police will not issue you a second ticket.
  • Take your ticket to court and fight it.
  • You will win. The parking ticket is void because it was issued in under the 30 minutes that you have a paid parking receipt for.
Citizens Parking Tickets

Someone could get the parking police to issue you a ticket, even if you are legally parked. Maybe you cut someone off or maybe someone is jealous of the car that you drive. To issue you a ticket all they have to do is deposit 5 cents in a multi-meter parking spot and enter your parking spot number. Even though you have paid for 1 hour of parking they have now reset the time on your parking spot. A few minutes later the parking police will issue you a ticket. You now have no choice but to pay this wrongly issued ticket. You could fight this ticket but it would involve you spending a few hours in court.

Since the parking police are dispatched by the multi-spot parking meter, as soon as the time expires, the person could wait around and removed the ticket from your windshield after it has been issued. This way you would not know about your ticket till you try to renew your license plates. At which point you would have to pay the ticket and further fines for making a late payment.

Preventing Double Charging

Residents of Montreal could prevent the city from double charging by give the parking receipt to the person taking their spot when they leave. This shows the person parking how much time is left before they have to pay for more time. They could also tape their ticket to the numbered parking sign.

Preventing Wrong Ticketing

The city of Montreal could prevent theses problems by requiring parking receipts be placed on the dashboard of all cars. The parking police could then check these receipts before issuing tickets. Currently, even if you place your receipt on the dashboard the parking police will not check because they are not require to do so.

Montreal’s parking system is prone to less abuse thanToronto’s. Montreal’s parking system is more controlled because the credit cards are validated and parking spots are regularly checked. Toronto’s parking meters still accepts invalid credit cards because the cards are not validated. However there are some serious issues that have been created by the city’s attempt at increase profits by double charging for parking spots.