Oct. 19, 2018 By Tara Law
Council Member Costa Constantinides introduced a bill Wednesday that would eliminate a program that lets delivery companies pay reduced fines for parking illegally.
The bill calls for the end of the controversial Stipulated Fine Program, which lets delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS pay reduced penalties in exchange for waiving their right to contest violations.
Constantinides argues that getting rid of the program will discourage trucks from abusing the system, which officials say would make streets safer and reduce traffic congestion. He also says that applying the same ticketing rules to all drivers is fairer.
“Massive delivery companies shouldn’t get a free pass — which many times they literally do — for illegally parking in front of fire hydrants, blocking bike lanes, or eating up handicapped spots,” Constantinides said.
The Stipulated Fine Program was put into place in 2005 as a way of reducing costly court battles when delivery companies fought the tickets. In 2005, the New York Sun reported that it took 55 days for contested tickets submitted online or by mail to be processed.
Jacques Jiha, the Department of Finance commissioner, told Crain’s New York Business earlier this month that if businesses started leaving the program and challenging tickets, they “would clog the system and impose a huge burden on the city.”
The department also argues that the delivery companies are paying what they would most likely pay after the tickets were contested.
The Department of Finance, however, recently announced a plan to reform the program, which included increasing some of the predetermined penalties for program participants.
Constantinides also introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the city to set an example in terms of what time of the day deliveries are made. His bill would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to plan for deliveries between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., in an effort to cut down truck congestion during the day.
“With unprecedented traffic… it’s important we fight for fine equity, promote overnight deliveries, and protect our pedestrians,” Constantinides said.