City offers online payment for parking tickets

The Bellingham Business Journal

About 30 percent of parking ticket recipients have chosen to pay online in the last month, thanks to a new electronic payment option offered by the City of Bellingham.

The option to pay parking tickets on the city’s Web site became available March 15.

“Online parking ticket payment provides an important customer service improvement that people have requested for several years, including members of the city’s Transportation Commission,” said Clark Williams, Public Works transportation and communications superintendent. “While no one likes to get a parking ticket, allowing quick electronic payment makes paying the fine much more convenient.”

The little yellow envelopes distributed by parking meter enforcement officers are now stamped with the Web site address for online payment. Parking tickets may still be paid in person at the Municipal Court counter, via U.S. mail or by using the drop box in front of Bellingham City Hall.

Linda Storck, judicial and support services director, said her office processes more than 48,000 tickets annually, so offering an online payment option is a much more efficient, cost-effective way to handle these transactions.

“If these numbers stay consistent over time, that means we have to open and manually process about 16,000 fewer envelopes each year,” Storck said.  “This is one of several ways we’ve absorbed budget and staffing reductions in my office.”

To pay parking tickets online, customers will need to know either the vehicle license plate number and state or the parking ticket number, and have their Visa, MasterCard or Discover card available. No convenience fees are charged for online transactions.

The system automatically calculates late fees. Parking tickets begin accruing late fees 15 days after they are issued. Parking tickets that are more than 60 days or more past the issue date will be sent to collections and cannot be paid online, Storck said.

The project cost about $5,500 to complete. This is the second electronic payment option launched by the city in 2010, joining the new online utility bill payment service that began earlier this year.

For more information, call the City of Bellingham at (360) 778-8150.

Related Stories