Some New Haveners have a plausible excuse for not paying their latest parking tickets: They were nowhere near St. Louis on Dec. 11.
At least two New Haveners received the tickets in the mail this past weekend from the company that manages billing for the city’s transportation department, Passport Inc.
The sender for the tickets was identified on the outside of the mailing as the City of New Haven. But the actual parking ticket reminder notice inside was from the Traffic Violations Bureau of Clayton, Missouri, a city outside St. Louis.
New Haven social-justice activist Chris Garaffa received one of the notices and posted it on Twitter. It told him to pay $50 for having “parked at a place where official signs prohibit parking” in Clayton on Dec. 11 at 3:20 p.m.
“Very concerned,” he wrote. “This is a security issue, and why privatization sucks.”
A second New Havener, who asked not to be identified, received a notice seeking $40 for an expired meter violation in Clayton on Dec. 11.
City transit chief Doug Hausladen said the city has been contracting with Passport Inc. since February 2015 to handle the software end of parking ticket collections. He said his office is investigating the weekend’s mistake and had no information about other people receiving the mistaken tickets. Clayton city finance chief Janet Watson, too, told the Independent her office is in the information-gathering phase.
Spokespeople for Passport did not provide details on whether other customers received false notices in either city. Instead, they issued the following statement: “The privacy of our users is of the utmost importance to us. As soon as we learned of this incident, we quickly responded and worked to remedy the issue. We have identified that this was an isolated incident that affected a small amount of users. Any affected users can contact us at email@example.com. We will continue to do our best to protect user-privacy and provide the high-level of service our users have come to expect of us.”