Jan 15, 2014 11:59 PM by Matthew Schwartz
TUCSON - If you've had problems parking downtown, here's a story you might relate to.
Earlier this month, Dr. Robert Carreira told the News 4 Tucson Investigators about his dispute with a downtown parking lot. The college economist from Tombstone recently got a $50 ticket from Pueblo Parking Systems, which owns the lot between Congress and Pennington. The ticket said, "Time Expired". However, all the signs at the lot (nine in all) say, "After 5 p.m. and weekends, $5.00 flat rate." Carreira had parked there on a Saturday, for about three hours.
Carreira said, "This machine, which is basically the last thing you hit when you pay, pretty much spells it out: Saturday and Sunday, five dollars."
And there's more: After getting the ticket, Carreira checked his credit card charges from Pueblo Parking Systems over the past year. He found that he'd been charged $6.00 instead of five every single weekend day. After the News 4 Tucson Investigators' report on Jan. 5, we heard from many viewers with similar complaints, through emails and comments on our web site.
Carreira told us, "There's definitely a problem and whether it's something that was intentionally done, or it was something that was an oversight or mismanagement, or something else, it definitely needs to be looked into and be fixed."
The News 4 Tucson Investigators looked into the situation after hearing from Carreira, and it indeed has been fixed.
The owner of the parking lot, Swain Chapman, called us this week. He said our report made him aware that the machine has been malfunctioning.
Additionally, Carreira received a letter from Pueblo Parking Systems. It states, "We had not been aware of the fact there was a programming glitch with the pay machine. Now that it has been brought to our attention, we have been working to adjust, and have since resolved, the error with the machine...we are willing to refund any overcharges you have incurred."
Councilman Steve Kozachik told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "My concern is this is sending a bad message to the whole community about coming downtown. "
Kozachik wants the City Attorney to investigate Pueblo Parking Systems. Kozachik said, "If you ask people one thing about why don't come downtown, it's, 'parking's a hassle.'"
If you have parked at the Pueblo Parking Systems lot between Congress and Pennington and think you've been over-charged or given a bad ticket, you should contact the company.
And remember, if you have a story you would like us to investigate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call our tip line, (520) 955-4444.