parkingmeter_generic1.jpgIn light of Muni’s recently announced $21 million budget shortfall, and the ticketing-heavy plan the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency, the umbrella organization running both Muni and the Department of Parking and Traffic, has implemented to close the gap, it makes sense that City Hall is in the the mood to crack down on ticketing fraud. In recent weeks, according to the Chron, over half a dozen people in the DPT have gotten the axe for wiping legit parking tickets off the books.

The culprits run the gamut from parking officers to accountants, bus drivers to computer techs. According to an unnamed parking official, more firings are to still to come. One of the terminated employees reportedly fixed 50 tickets, 40 of which were for a single colleague who was either the world’s worst parker or someone who knew they could park wherever they wanted with total impunity.

Another reportedly took bribes to enroll people in Project 20, a program that allows parking offenders to do community service in lieu of payment. In this case, however, none of the promised community service was ever completed.

These violations are currently under investigation by the City Attorney’s office and any guilty parties are unlikely to get off easy — last year, a district attorney in South Carolina convicted of fixing tickets was sentenced to three years in jail, law her license to practice law and had to pay a $25,000 fine.

SFMTA’s house cleaning comes in the wake of California Public Utilities Commission’s announcement of an investigation into the beleaguered transit agency after state inspectors found a litany of problems that should be obvious to anyone who has ever ridden Muni.

Maybe, instead of going to jail, the ticket fixers should have serve their time endlessly riding Muni. Better yet, sitting a station in the rain and waiting for an N-Judah train that never comes.

Nah, too cruel.

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