Hopping mad after buying Hopper Pass

September 29, 2009 4:17:44 PM PDT
Parking downtown can cost you a bundle, but the city of Houston has a way to save. It's called the Downtown Hopper Pass. But for some, the pass is not preventing them from getting a parking ticket. The Hopper Pass is supposed to be an all day parking pass for just $6, but there's a catch and for some drivers, even playing by the rule has led to a ticket.

It sounds simple enough. Pay $6 and you get to park all day long on downtown city streets. That's the deal with the pass, but there is one important rule you have to follow. Drivers who buy the pass still have to move their vehicles every two hours and if they don't, they get a ticket.

But even drivers who claim to have followed that rule say they are being fined.

"It does not say on there that you can't park on this street for more than two hours, just in that spot," said Amy Strickling, who parks downtown.

Strickling says she moved her car over a few spaces within the two hour time frame, but ended up with a ticket because she moved to another space on the same block.

"When you buy something that says it is an all day parking pass, you believe that it's going to be an all day parking pass," she said. "That is why you pay $6 for it."

Peter Bennett says the same thing happened to him on the same downtown street.

"You're being asked to pay $6 and you never find out what you bought until you get the ticket and they say, 'No, you have to move it off the block'," he said.

The printed receipts do tell drivers they must move cars within two hours, but they do not say drivers have to move off the block. The reason? City officials say moving one space over is enough to satisfy the rules and those who got tickets for remaining on the same block should not have.

"They have to move out of the space," said Liliana Rambo, Houston Parking Management Director. "It can be one or two spaces forward or one or two spaces back, but they must move from the parking space."

Rambo says people who get tickets should appeal the fine if they followed the rules and got a ticket anyway.

You can appeal the ticket at 1400 Lubbock, in the basement. You do not need an appointment.

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