So here's how it works. You park in the station's lot, note the numbered space you're parked at, go up to the station and pay in one of two or three meters, $3 for 24 hours. You get a little receipt stating the time and amount paid and everything. If you don't pay, you get a parking ticket. I've noticed the police coming through checking all the cars before, and always thought "Man, wouldn't it suck if I paid right now but they gave me a ticket in a minute anyway because they didn't know I'd paid?" Well, guess what happened today.
The officer was probably half a dozen cars down the row from mine when I parked and scurried over to the station, put in $3, got my receipt, and waited around for the train. And I wondered if, since he was so close to my car, I should say "Hey I just parked, I'm going to pay right this second!" but that seemed like a weird thing to do. I mean, surely I couldn't get ticketed in the three minutes it took me to walk to the meter and put money in?
No, even better. I can't read the time on the ticket very well (it's a carbon copy so the writing is all smudged) but I swear it looks like it says 10:33am. My receipt says 10:19am. So I bet he didn't get me in the gap, he actually got me after I had already paid. Sense, it makes none.
Does anyone know how they check which spaces are paid or not? The numbers are just painted in the space and you pay at the station, and there are only a couple of really retro meters. I see them going down the rows carefully and I'm wondering how they know which cars to ticket, because I'm sure it was a mistake and not the guy trying to be a jerk. But since I've parked a number of times during the check and never got a ticket before I thought that whatever the system was, they wouldn't/couldn't ticket me just because I paid while they were checking. Otherwise stuff like this would have to happen all the time.
Anywhoo... Ranting aside, I now have to call the municipal court and find out how I can come in and hopefully have them just get rid of the ticket because I shouldn't have been ticketed in the first place. It has a date of April 8th at 9:30am which is the deadline for me to come in and pay or contest it, and it says I can go in to pay it before that if I call in advance. I'm assuming that means I could also go in before that to show them the mistake? I honestly don't know how to handle stuff like this since I've never had to contest a ticket before. In fact I never got a ticket before I moved to New Jersey, and in the last month I've had this one and another one for parking in my own neighborhood overnight while it was snowing... Which is apparently not allowed, although that was news to me at the time. They came by first thing in the morning before it was even possible to move a car because of all the snow and ticketed every single car on the street. Cost me $54 plus a $2 convenience fee for paying it with my debit card. The cherry on top was that the officer writing the ticket misspelled "Dodge" and also messed up my license plate number somehow, then had to clear 5 inches of snow off my windshield to put it there. The hell, guys?
EDIT. The municipal court apparently only has one phone, and no one will answer it and it doesn't let you leave messages. I keep getting the "We are busy/not here, please try again during normal business hours" recording. Oh this is going to be fun.
EDIT NUMBAH TWO. They finally answered and the lady on the phone told me that all I had to do was mail the ticket and the receipt to them and the judge would dismiss it O_O; I'm making a copy of both to keep with me just in case, and I think I'll send it with delivery conformation so I have proof that I sent it. Apparently this happens all the time because when I told the lady on the phone what happened, she acted like it was quite standard procedure. Oh well.