A trip to Los Angeles is a bucket-list item for many travelers around the world. Last year, the city welcomed a record 47.3 million visitors.
If you’re among the select group of travelers who plan to rent a car in Los Angeles County, you might want to pay particular attention to the street signs in Beverly Hills, where the average parking ticket costs about $90.
The county-wide average for a parking ticket is about $60, and after Beverly Hills, the most expensive places to get caught parking illegally are the City of Los Angeles ($73), Santa Monica ($64), West Hollywood ($63). Long Beach clocks in way down at $50 for the average parking ticket.
The statistics are courtesy of a new website released by City Controller Ron Galperin, who is on a quest to make city finances more transparent.
In total, parking tickets contribute nearly $148 million in revenue for the city—although the program also incurred more than $106.2 million in expenses.
Parking Fees for Rental Cars
Of that amount, more than 2 percent is generated by tickets on rental vehicles. In total 57,682 tickets were issued to rental cars in FY14-15. And if you’re of the “you’re going to have to come and find me before I pay this ticket” ilk, know that 90 percent of tickets issued to rental cars were paid by the renters. Just 10 percent were paid by rental car companies.
The website further breaks down which rental car companies have the largest number of parking violations.
Enterprise Rent a Car had the largest number of tickets (28,103), which makes sense because it also has the largest fleet of rental vehicles (110,537 cars) in Los Angeles. In total, Enterprise vehicles generated nearly $2 million in parking fees, for an average of $17.78 per car in the fleet.
Hertz, with the second-largest fleet (76,007) vehicles, racked up nearly $1.3 million in parking fees, or $16.94 per fleet vehicle. If you believe in numbers, it looks like Avis drivers are the most cautious. With a fleet of 61,324 vehicles, Avis drivers generated just $615,000 in parking fees or $10.03 per vehicle.
If you do, eventually decide to pay the parking fee on your rental car, but do it late, you’re not alone. Nearly 20 percent of all parking tickets in Los Angeles incur late fees.
Tickets by Car Brand
If you have a preferred vehicle type, it might be good to know that Nissan, which is the third-most popular vehicle in Los Angeles, generated the lowest percentage of parking fees.
Toyota; 17.3 percent share of LA vehicles; 15 percent of parking fees
Honda, 14.9 percent share, 11 percent of parking fees
Ford, 6.1 percent share, 9 percent of parking fees
Chevrolet 5.7 percent share, 7 percent of parking fees
Nissan 7 percent share, 6 percent of parking fees
What’s (Not) A Good Time to Park
In car-obsessed Los Angeles, it's hardly breaking news that people need their cars to go to lunch. And it shows.
The lunch period is the most likely time to get ticketed. Some 12.6 percent of all tickets (321,314), were issued between 12:01 p.m. and 1 p.m.
Morning lattes are also a key time for LA’s drive market. So important is the morning latte ritual, that drivers are willing to risk a parking ticket for it. Some 4 percent of all tickets (101,380) were issued from 8:15-8:30 a.m. At $60 a pop, that’s an expensive morning coffee.
It’s also good to keep an eye on where you’re planning to park in LA. The top violation was for parking in a street-cleaning zone (26 percent), so be sure to double check the signage before you park and leave your car for the night. Other top violations include expired meters (23.3 percent) and expired tabs (10 percent.)
Also good to know is that Los Angeles County has more than 170 preferential parking districts, where on-street parking is restricted to residents and city-approved placard holders. This can prove to be especially costly in popular visitor areas like West Hollywood, where preferred neighborhood zones butt up against busy tourist strips like Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sunset Strip.
On an aside, if you’re of the ilk to complain about delivery trucks blocking your parking space, take heart. Delivery trucks are the largest recipient of the city’s parking fees.
Los Angeles is home to 4,264 UPS trucks, which received in excess of 30,000 parking tickets and generated some $2.6 million in fees for the city. That means each truck received an average of $618 in annual fines. Numbers are similar for FedEx, which has 2,012 trucks and received 15,000 tickets and $1.2 million in fees, for an average of $6333 per truck. The money just spent on ticketing delivery trucks was the equivalent of hiring 10 full-time officers.
If you think LA’s parking fees are too high, you aren’t alone. But don’t expect the fees to go down any time soon.
“As much as we’d like to reduce parking fines, we currently rely on the revenues,” said Galperin. “Rather than just cut ticket prices now, we should instead invest in new solutions that will help to reduce administrative costs, and give people a clearer indication whether they can park in a spot -- so as to not get a ticket in the first place.”