Tag Archives: paylock

City boot program hits south Queens

| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Phil Hertling

The Smart Boot program, which locks up the cars of ticket scofflaws, hit southern Queens last Monday after being launched in Brooklyn six weeks ago.

Paylock, a parking enforcement company, has city authorization to place a yellow wheel lock on the cars of parking/traffic violators with more than $350 in unpaid fines. The no-bid pilot program, selected by the Bloomberg administration, is an attempt by the city to collect owed money more efficiently.

Aside from collecting at a more efficient rate, the Department of Finance (DOF) and other backers of the program believe the new system will benefit motorists.

“Paylock is open 24/7 for calls while tow companies close at nights and on weekends,” said Owen Stone, a DOF spokesperson. “[Paylock] can send someone to go get the boot off and return it for you.”

Violators are forced to pay a $180 boot fee, $70 sheriff’s fee and a five percent surcharge on top of any unpaid fines. However, the DOF believes this average cost is less than the average cost of the current towing system throughout the city.

“The boot charge is a little bit less, there are no taxes or storage fees,” Stone said. “On average it’s cheaper by seven to 10 percent.”

While it could potentially hurt tow companies financially, some towers say the program could be practical for scofflaws.

“It’s actually better for the vehicle owner,” said Kimberly Tanami, who owns Kimberly Towing in Astoria. “It’s much easier for the vehicle owner to release his car where it was booted than driving to the boondocks to some lot.”

The DOF believes the change is necessary for the city.

“Our goal is to collect from scofflaws and people who owe the city money,” he said. “Our goal is to do it as efficiently as possible.”

The wheel lock system will be under constant evaluation as the pilot-program gets ready to spread across Queens.

“[After Queens] it will move on to Staten Island,” Stone said. “And then, hopefully it will go citywide.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

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 Queens man charged with groping a sleeping  18-year-old on JetBlue flight 

A Queens man charged with sexually assaulting a male passenger sleeping next to him on a JetBlue flight was released Monday on $100,000 bail and ordered to undergo a mental examination. Othniel Polanco was caught red-handed fondling the 18-year-old victim’s genitals by a passenger who was sitting two seats over and witnessed the lewd act, authorities said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

It’s lockdown mode for drivers who don’t pay their fines 

The smartboot program, which keeps ticket scofflaws’ cars in place until the driver pays up, was rolled out in southern Queens on Monday. Under the program, parking enforcement company Paylock is authorized by a city deputy sheriff to attach a bright yellow wheel clamp to the cars of drivers who owe more than $350 in unpaid parking, red light camera and bus lane violations. The program was instituted in parts of Brooklyn last month. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Congressman Meeks meets with families of children lost to gun violence 

Following a rise in violent crimes in southeast Queens, Congressman Gregory Meeks sat down on Monday with the families members of children who have been murdered within the district. Read more: [NY1] 

Woodside leaders, pols propose cheaper BID option for small businesses 

Woodside leaders want to give business owners a taste of BID-lite. The community board and pols in Woodside recently proposed a cheaper model for a business improvement district that they hope will speed the BID’s instatement. However, detractors said the plan will drag businesses into unneeded expenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

National Pastimes: Queens women take top spots in local netball league 

At first glance, it may seem like a group of women in St. Albans, Queens are playing basketball, but there’s no backboard and there’s no dribbling. They are playing netball, a game many of these women learned growing up in the Caribbean. Read more: [NY1]