Bostonians Caught in Parking App Purgatory

The city declined NBC10 Boston's request for an interview

What to Know

  • Boston launched a parking app that promises to ease your pain with an “easy and convenient way to pay” for it.
  • Three different viewers said they paid for parking with the app, and despite following all the rules, got hefty tickets anyway.
  • A Boston city spokesperson said there was nothing wrong with the app and vehicles have to move after two hours.

Lisa Miller has been doing the Boston parking hustle for decades.

The lawyer works on Charles Street in densely-packed Beacon Hill and moves her car every two hours to avoid a dreaded ticket.

But over a two-week span this summer, she racked up four tickets at $40 a pop.

“They all say over meter limit,” Miller said.

It’s no secret that finding parking in Boston can be brutal.

The city launched a parking app promising to ease your pain with an “easy and convenient way to pay” for it.

But three different viewers came to NBC10 Boston with the same story. They paid for parking with the app, said they followed all the rules, and got hefty tickets anyway.

Miller uses the city’s app “ParkBoston.” Find a spot, enter your zone and vehicle information, and pay.

You’re not allowed to park for more than two hours in one space or even zone, which is typically one side of a city block.

A seasoned Bostonian, Miller knows the rules and says she plays by them.

“I never park in the same zone,” she said.

Take July 31. Miller says she parked legally, but still got the bright orange harbinger of doom.

The ticket says she was parked on Charles Street at 12:41, but Miller insists, and the app confirms she was actually in a totally different zone three blocks away.

“All of these apps have glitches and I recognize that,” Miller said. “But at least own up to it. That’s all I’m asking. And be fair.”

Three more times, with three more tickets saying she was in the same spot for nearly three hours “over meter limit.” But her receipts show she was parked in three different spots, three different zones, three different two-hour stretches.

Frustrated, Miller thought the ParkBoston receipts would be her fix to the problem on appeal.

But when she appealed to the city, she was denied.

“Same letter I received back every time,” she said.

Specifically, she got “form#32,” all with the same language, saying the ticket couldn’t be dismissed for the reasons she stated because “...parking was not allowed at the time…” and “...furthermore parking beyond the meter’s specified time limit is not allowed.”

“I knew that it was just somebody passing the paper and not really reading what my dispute was,” Miller said.

The city declined our request for an interview, but a spokesperson told us there was nothing wrong with the app and vehicles have to move after two hours.

“They figure you’ll pay it because you don’t want to deal with it or you’ll fight it and they drag it out to fight it,” Miller said. “A lot of times I give up, but this time I’m not.”

Miller paid all the tickets because she didn’t want to get a boot, but she has a hearing with the city parking office on Tuesday.

As for the other two drivers who reached out, both are from out of town and say they’re not coming all the way back to fight a parking ticket, but they’ll be watching to see what happens in Miller’s case.

In a statement, the city said, “There is a two-hour time limit in effect on most parking meters in the City of Boston. Regardless of the meter payment method, after two hours, the vehicle must be moved to another block face or the vehicle may be ticketed for Over Meter Limit. Making an additional meter payment via the Park Boston app, credit card or quarters does not allow for parking beyond the meter time limit in effect; the vehicle will still be eligible to receive an Over Meter Limit parking ticket. The City of Boston has a comprehensive appeals process in place for vehicle owners concerned that a ticket may have been issued in error. Information on how to appeal a parking ticket through the Office of the Parking Clerk is available at for information.”

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