Young and Hungry

Are Food Trucks Unfairly Targeted By D.C. Parking Enforcement?

Food truck operators have been racking up the parking tickets lately. "No matter how much you feed the meter, they're always eager to give tickets," Basil Thyme’s Brian Farrell tells WRC-TV's News4 I-Team. Farrell thinks the city's parking enforcement crew is targeting the mobile eats machines, so he called on the TV news station to investigate. Turns out, a whole bunch of roving food vendors are getting ticketed "almost daily," according to the station's report, generally because they're parked in the same spot for more than the two-hour limit. In other words, illegally.

The Department of Public Works, which oversees parking enforcement in the city, confirms that it now has a two-person team assigned to "to address the increased presence of food trucks that violate parking regulations," but adds that those meter maids should be handing out tickets to all rule-breakers—not just the trucks. The tasty truckers, however, say that other meter violators are being ignored while the ticket writers focus squarely on their vehicles. As you might expect, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, whose membership competes with the trucks for your coveted dining dollar, is siding with the city on this one. What do you think? Check out the full televised report below.

  • B-DC

    Ticket them like everyone else! I've drove into work some days and if I didn't move my car within a second of the 2 hour limit, I had a damn ticket. No pity here...

  • Brian

    Not sure why NBC4 skipped this , except perhaps for legal issues, so I'll raise the issue: The reason we contacted media was this enforcement has become so over-zealous, officers Actually LIED twice in one week - They Actually Falsified the times we parked, in order to give us tickets. Think of the mindset it takes to do that.

    Apparently, they had to leave to get other trucks, though we weren't parked yet, so they just Said we were parked as they left - when we were Not parked yet. Maybe more handy for them, but definitely both unscrupulous AND Illegal. We have multiple witnesses to this and A complaint has been submitted to OIG for investigation. We're not the only truck that these officers have actually lied about in order to give tickets.

    I'm not a big fan of the serrupticious taxation in the form of ticketing, as we've already paid taxes. And while it is important to obey the law, I find the creation of a task force to enforce the laws just for a specific group and not others, violates our 14th Ammendment rights. This isn't lofty, its pretty common sense. If police created a special group to target a specific group of individuals they suspect of committing crimes more than others, there's a legal problem with that. It's called profiling and it's been struck down as unconstitutional. I don't see how this is any different. We all pay the meters and for there to be a group that targets us because we park for 2.5 -3 hours doesn't make much sense.
    Do cops ticket everyone who drives faster than 55 on the highway? No. What if there was a Corvette or Porsche enforcement group? That's what these parking guys are to us.

    Add to that, the vendors at the National Mall, take up spots for days on end without tickets. How is that fair?!
    And, furthermore, private cars can extend their meter time at a 2hr spot. If that shouldn't be the case, then why did the city allow the software/phone system to be set up so you can do that?!

    Last point - In a down economy, I think I do better things with my money than the city can - such as employ 3 people and more in the future. $500 extra per month to DC for working hard and trying to earn a living - while I'm PERMITTED by the city to do such an activity?!
    That's money that I'd much rather give to my awesome chef or teriffic salad prep. I'm sure they would even come in at night and spend that extra money here in DC, if only they weren't afraid of getting a parking ticket...

  • Yep Uhuh

    First let me say that I support the food trucks with my cash most days of the week, and I hope they stick around.


    They are knowingly and deliberately breaking the parking laws, and shouldn't complain if they get tickets.
    I wish the city would work with them, maybe work out some kind of parking permit system - something like a reduced rate for regular commercial meter users, because they are providing a service of benefit to the public, while creating jobs and paying taxes.

    But all that baloney about how others aren't targeted isn't helping the case - just because others get away with breaking the law doesn't mean you should be allowed to.

  • Rob

    uh, I love the trucks, but "creating jobs and paying taxes"??? What taxes do they pay? They don't collect sales tax from me. What jobs?

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