If you’ve ever seen that waving piece of paper under the windshield wiper of your car, you know the instantaneous dread of what you’re going to read. It’s a dastardly parking ticket that you’ll now have to pay for with your hard earned dollars. Now think what you would do if you got three or four of those a day while doing your job. The drivers receiving these tickets don’t have to pay for them, but their companies do, and if you use FedEx or UPS, you’re probably paying for them indirectly.
FedEx and UPS drivers have to make a lot of deliveries, and they have to do it on-time. To make those deliveries in the big cities, drivers sometimes have to park where the city doesn’t want them to. This leads to parking in loading zones, parking for too long a time, or double parking in front of a delivery point. This results in a whole bunch of parking fines.
The spot where the tickets add up the fastest is in New York City. In 2006, UPS racked up 15,000 tickets a month, and paid $18.7 million in parking violations to the city. FedEx came in second with $8.2 million in fines. Delivery trucks in New York paid $102 million in total parking fines for the year, with UPS and FedEx leading the way. The amount of parking tickets issued were so great that the City of New York established a program that reduced the fine or even dismissed tickets if companies agreed not to contest them since the load was becoming unmanageable.
While the program helped reduce the cost for FedEx and UPS in the amount of their parking fines, they still pay sizable amounts to the city every quarter. In the first three months of 2013, FedEx and UPS paid a combined $2.8 million in parking fines. UPS has even tried to reduce its parking fine tally by renting space in parking garages and by sending out scouts to hunt for open spots or areas where the parking police might not be.
The parking fines aren’t just a problem in New York for FedEx and UPS. They get them in other cities by the wheelbarrow load. In 2011 in Washington D.C., UPS received 31,993 tickets, and FedEx got 8,473. If each ticket was an average of $50, then UPS had to spend $1.6 million, and FedEx got hit for $423,650. In San Francisco in 2007 the damages weren’t as bad for one of the two delivery companies. UPS paid fines worth $673,334, but FedEx had to pay $434,046. These are just a few of the examples, and the amount that FedEx and UPS have to pay in the hundreds of other cities they deliver to is unknown.
The parking fines are most likely in the budgets of the two companies, but neither will disclose how much they allocate toward them. It’s more than likely that it’s built into their pricing model for the delivery of packages. But there is one giant delivery company that doesn’t have to worry about parking fines at all. It’s the US Postal Service. They are immune to state and local regulations since they are a federal entity, and they don’t have to pay parking fines.
So we may get our packages on time, but the big winners seem to be the cities. Their municipal coffers will continue to have a steady influx of money as long as UPS and FedEx continue to deliver packages.