Parking Ticket Strategies in New York City

Ten million parking tickets are written every year in New York City, generating more than a half-billion dollars. Most people who get parking tickets, about 80 percent by NYC estimates, don’t bother disputing the ticket and simply pay the full fine to not go through the trouble. But it turns out it’s much easier than that. There is a program to reduce parking ticket fines for drivers that helps New York City save time and money too. There are several ways to request a hearing as well as several ways to ultimately pay the reduced price. This guide also provides instructions on what to do if your car is towed in NYC and how to retrieve it.

How To Get Your Parking Ticket Fine Reduced

NYC Parking Ticket
Parking Ticket on Car Window

The Department of Finance offers settlements to drivers who dispute their parking ticket in person, online ( or by mail within the first 30 days of receiving the ticket. To get the discount on your parking ticket fine, you must dispute the ticket and plead not guilty. Department of Finance clerks can now dismiss tickets if they are deemed unreadable or inappropriate. It’s no longer necessary to go in front of a judge. Depending on the severity of the violation, there are only certain parking tickets that can get an automatic reduced offer. Simple violations like parking in a No Standing zone or an expired meter can get you an automatic reduced offer. You cannot get a discount for a violation like blocking an intersection. Some vehicles may also not qualify for a discount: cars with commercial plates, tow trucks, tracker trucks or semis, and delivery trucks. By accepting the discount, the driver waves the right to appeal the ticket in the future. The customer does not have to settle for the reduced price offered and has the option to fight the ticket if they aren’t satisfied. If a ticket was issued for parking in a No Parking zone, the fine goes from $65 to $43. A parking ticket for an expired meter goes from $65 to $43 as well. Tickets for No Standing and double parking are both reduced from $115 to $90. By getting drivers to forgo hearings, it has allowed New York City to reduce the number of parking judges it has staffed by about half, and as a result, NYC spends $2 million less on administrative costs each year than before the program was introduced.

Whether you are able to dispute the parking ticket or just want to pay it whole, read the instructions on the back of the ticket to find out how to pay or contact the Department of Finance. It is important to respond to the parking ticket within 30 days of the date it was issued. If you don’t respond within 30 days, a $10 penalty is added to the fine and additional penalties are accrued until it’s handled. There are several ways to pay your street parking ticket:

Pay Ticket Online

Parking tickets can be paid online using credit or debit cards. There is a $2.00 transaction fee for each parking ticket. To pay online you just have to visit the New York City government Web site: and follow instructions

Pay Ticket In The Mail

If you choose to mail in your payment for the parking ticket, be sure to mail it early enough to allow for it to be delivered within the 30 days after the ticket was issued. Send a check or money order for the full amount indicated on the parking ticket; do not send cash. Checks are made out to “NYC Department of Finance” and further instruction on information to include and where to send the check is specified on the back of the parking ticket.

Pay Ticket By Phone

By calling 212-504-4041, parking tickets can be paid with credit or debit card. There is a $2.00 transaction fee for each parking ticket. The call is automated but agents are available to assist by pressing 0, though there is often a long wait time.

Towed Cars

Car Being Towed in NYC
Car Being Towed in NYC

If you return to where your car was parked and come to find it has been towed, call 311 or 212-TOW-AWAY (869-2929) to find the vehicle. Tow pounds are operated by the New York Police Department. Calling the local NYPD precinct would also help determine where the car was towed or if the car was simply relocated because of a parade or street fair. If you find the car was not towed or relocated, it may have been stolen. Cars are towed when they are parked illegally and are usually taken to a tow pound within the NYC borough it was parked. There is a pound in every borough and if one is full, it may be brought to another borough. The Manhattan tow pound is located at Pier 76 at West 38th Street and 12th Avenue. Tow pounds are closed and vehicles are not able to be retrieved on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What To Do If Your Car Is Towed

When going to the tow pound to retrieve a vehicle, several items are needed: the current vehicle registration certificate, valid driver’s license, and the current insurance card for the vehicle. Cars can only be released to the owners, their spouses, or an authorized representative (someone who has the written consent of the owner with notarized signature.) If your documents are still located in the vehicle, the tow pound will allow you supervised access to the car. With three exit checkpoints, the tow pound has never had a car escape without paying. Retrieving a vehicle at a New York City tow pound is not cheap. The regular tow fee is $185, and that’s in addition to the $95 ticket fee. If the car isn’t retrieved on the same day it was towed, an overnight storage fee of $20 is added. The tow fee can be paid with cash, check payable to NYC Police Department, credit card, debit card, money order, or traveler’s checks. If the vehicle isn’t retrieved within 10 days, it may possibly be sold at a public auction.