Winnipeg says it will cancel or refund some tickets that were issued to people who thought they could park for free downtown on Saturday, only to find out they had to pay before the free time took effect.
The Winnipeg Parking Authority’s website states that it offers two-hour, complimentary on-street parking in the city’s downtown on Saturdays, but it only kicks in after a motorist has already purchased the maximum amount of time.
Many people believed they could park immediately for free because that’s what stickers on pay stations indicate.
The authority says it updated its website earlier this year after some people complained the information was unclear, but it says stickers on the pay stations and the website caused further confusion.
It now says it won’t issue tickets within the first two hours for downtown on-street parking between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays, excluding hospital zones, in the immediate future.
The authority says it will review the parking program “to ensure greater clarity,” and that anyone who got a ticket should call or email the city.
“Obviously we got it wrong and can admit we got it wrong and took the immediate steps to fix it moving forward,” said Randy Topolniski, the chief operating officer of the Winnipeg Parking Authority.
Topolniski said the policy of offering free parking only after the maximum amount of time was purchased was just made recently, and the issue was brought home to the authority over the past weekend when tickets were issued.
He called the problem “an operational oversight.”
“We missed the mark,” he said.