Here’s what happened: 17 of the forward facing video cameras used on Muni buses to catch people violating parking rules weren’t adjusted for Daylight Saving time in March, causing the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) to issue 510 tickets to drivers who appeared to be parking in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The clock error was discovered by ABC7’s I-Team when contacted by one victim of the transit agency’s failure to properly set their clocks. Shop owner George Chen has a commercial license to use the loading zone in front of his store said he received an $85 ticket for not clearing that zone before 4 p.m. He said he was sure he left around 3:30 p.m., and after filing a Public Records Act, ABC7 discovered the Muni camera clock glitch.
MTA Executive Director Nat Ford said that he was unaware of such time errors in the past. “This is the first I’m hearing of that, so I’ll have to check back with our staff and see if that is the case, and then we’ll have to make sure we correct the problem if there is one,” Ford said.
He urges drivers who have been issued tickets after March to be proactive and confirm the times to see if they can get refunds. The I-Team has compiled all the reports related to this case and posted a document listing the bad tickets with license plate numbers here.
Ford said the MTA will refund over $28,000 to people have paid for these bad tickets and will excuse more than $27,000 in fines that are still due.
These traffic surveillance cameras are part of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Transit-Only Lane Enforcement project started in 2008. For his part, Newsom apologizes for the ticketing errors.
“For all those folks that got those citations, all I can say is ‘I’m sorry,’ and it’s a completely legitimate concern that should be addressed and you got to own up to it, so we’re sorry, lesson learned and let’s make sure we don’t make this mistake again,” Newsom said.