Nearly $10 million forgiven during Philly parking ticket amnesty

People line up around the block to pay their tickets on the final day of amnesty offered by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Those still in line at the close of business were offered rainchecks (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

People line up around the block to pay their tickets on the final day of amnesty offered by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Those still in line at the close of business were offered rainchecks (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The Philadelphia Parking Authority recouped nearly $2.5 million during a two-month amnesty program created to reduce — or zero out — people’s debt from unpaid parking tickets, according to the city.

That figure includes money from people who paid off their debt in full, as well as initial payments made by those who opted to enter into a payment plan.

The agency hopes to collect another $1.5 million over time from the payment plans set up during the lifespan of the program, which ran from March 1 to April 30.

The majority of the anticipated grand total — $3.1 million — is going to the School District of Philadelphia.

Under the program, the PPA cleared any debt from unpaid parking tickets issued before 2013, but only if you agreed to pay any fines from 2013 to the present, either all at once or over time through a payment plan.

If you didn’t have any outstanding payments after 2013, the Parking Authority charged you $50 dollars to wipe out your older debt.

Nearly 25,000 people participated in the program. At times, lines snaked around the block.

In all, the Philadelphia Parking Authority forgave roughly $9 million of debt, but only recovered an average of $100 per person.

In December, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an audit of the PPA. Among the findings: the authority had failed to collect more than $580 million in unpaid parking tickets and associated fees since 1990.

Those behind the amnesty said it was logical to clear old debts that were very hard to collect. The plan was to clear out some old debts to focus PPA enforcement on tickets that are more likely to be paid.

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