Food & Drink Police & Fire Transportation

Boston Valet Parking Crackdown: 719 Inspections in Past Month

It is past time to get serious about enforcing valet parking regulations in the City of Boston, says Thomas T. Tinlin, Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department. A surge of complaints documented in recent media articles and attention from the city’s watchdog group has resulted in a major response by city officials.

In an interview with the transportation chief, Tinlin said BTD has performed 719 inspections, including follow-ups, at the city’s restaurants and hotels since December 15, 2011. The crackdown has resulted in 232 parking tickets and 9 license premise violations.

“There was complete disregard for the regulations. On December 15th, we saw zero compliance. Today, we are seeing about 88% compliance,” says BTD’s Tinlin.

Tinlin admits his department deserves some of the blame for the problem getting out of hand. “Before it was treated as a 9-5 issue, which obviously does not work,” he says. “Now, we are out there at night with a better record keeping system in place and better engineering. We are forcing a change in behavior.”

BTD has assigned two enforcement teams on the streets every night until the restaurants close. In addition, the Boston Police Department has added valet enforcement as a specific part of officer duties. “They have been excellent,” reports Tinlin. At a recent Finance Commission meeting, it was disclosed that three officers were being paid $335 per week in stipends for valet parking enforcement. Yet, FinComm did not believe much, if any, enforcement was taking place since it was not part of their primary assignments and the officers were not working past 5:00 pm into the key dinner hour.

Most of the city’s valet licenses are in the North End, Downtown, Back Bay and the South End. Last week, BTD “invited” all 140 valet license holders (~100 restaurants, ~40 hotels/condo buildings) to an enforcement meeting at the Boston Public Library. Approximately 90 representatives attended the meeting. Many valet license holders mistakenly believed that that BTD had rolled out new new regulations. BTD explained the regulations have not changed, but they are now being enforced.

As a result of the changes, BTD expects residents will see much less double (and triple) parking, increased compliance with the “10 minute move rule,” no “stacking” of cars or valet parking in meter or resident parking spaces.

Monthly hearings are now being scheduled where new applicants and violators must appear for potential disciplinary action, including the risk of losing their valet parking license. Scheduled to appear at the next hearing on January 27th are several high profile restaurants throughout downtown Boston.


Valet Parking Hearing Agenda, January 27, 2012, 2:00 pm, City Hall, Room #801
1) Lucca Restaurant – 226 Hanover Street – New Applicant
2) Taj Boston – 15 Arlington Street – Compliance
3) Prezza – 24 Fleet Street – Compliance
4) 45 Province Condo – 45 Province Street – Compliance
5) 28 Degrees – 1 Appleton Street – Compliance
6) Mandarin Oriental – 776 Boylston Street – Compliance
7) Strega – 379 Hanover Street – Compliance
(Contact: Daniel Nuzzo, Phone: 617-635-4680)

Valet parking tickets are now coded in a new system, according to Tinlin. As a result, BTD can chase the license holder instead of the motorist. The agency realizes the motorist is not the primary violator once they turn the keys over.  Restaurants are highly incentivized because nothing ruins a customer’s experience more than coming out after dinner to get your car and receiving a parking ticket. Tickets still go to the vehicle in question, but BTD is holding the owner of the license responsible. The city agency is also working with the five major valet companies in the city along with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing that issues the licenses.

After the recent crackdown, most of the violations relate to the “10 minute move” rule that can be a challenge for the valet companies when it gets busy. But Tinlin claims, “the regulations are not the problem.” He will not seek to change the rules, a step that would require City Council approval.

Tinlin is confident the public will see a noticeable improvement in valet operations throughout the city. He is counting on the added enforcement teams and new tracking system to avoid the problems of the past. “There won’t be any more negative articles on lax enforcement under my watch,” he says.

BTD advises the public to call the City’s 24 hour hotline when they see violations (617-635-4500, Citizens Connect app, online at or 911 if there is an immediate public safety concern.

A Busy Hanover Street