The Boston Finance Commission has launched an investigation regarding the enforcement of valet parking violations at restaurants and hotels. The investigation comes after multiple problems were reported in the recent Globe article. Valet parking enforcement involves crossover responsibilities from three city agencies, the Transportation Department (BTD), Police Department (BPD) and the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, Licensing and Entertainment.
A summary of the update regarding the status of the investigation from FinComm’s monthly meeting held January 3, 2012:
- FinComm reported that three police officers are being paid $335 weekly stipends ($50,000/year) to enforce the City’s valet regulations. FinComm believes there has been little enforcement because there are no records of fines or tickets. The Commission found the officers generally do not work after 5pm, missing the important dinner hour when valets are most busy at restaurants.
- FinComm’s checks around Downtown Boston revealed several meter and residential spaces being used by valets along with excessive time violations.
- Police and Transportation officials have started “sting” operations and random checks in the past month. Tickets and fines are the responsibility of the restaurant/hotel, not the valet company.
- Permits for new valet parking locations are being issued by the valet companies, instead of BTD. In addition, payment was often not received for issued permits. Two companies control the vast majority of Boston valet operations.
- FinComm met with BTD Commissioner Tom Tinlin and Dan Nuzzo, in charge of valet operations for the Transportation Department. Nuzzo has been moved back to City Hall and is working with FinComm on corrective actions.
- Signage is sorely lacking on the streets. FinComm will suggest standardization and a phone number be placed on signs to report problems.
- The annual rate for valet space from the city is $40/foot. Thus, a 20 foot valet space cost only $800 per year encouraging excessive use. (Ed: At ~25% the cost of a parking spot in a Downtown garage, we should all apply for valet space.)
- Valet regulations may need to be revamped. BTD’s Tinlin/Nuzzo and Licensing’s Patricia Malone have agreed to cooperate with FinComm in drafting recommendations.
- FinComm believes that monthly reports of valet parking enforcement actions should be a key priority.