Inconvenience and incredible confusion reign

Thursday saw crowds, confusion and mounting rage at the offices of the City Hall in Liosion 22, where the public had gone to pay fines that had come out of the blue or to find out about the precise time and place of an infringement, since the notification from the municipality was far from clear. In both cases they had to wait in the same line for the cash desk, causing further delays. «Can you tell me how I could have been in Rhodes with my car and got a parking fine in Athens?» says G. Bouloukos, waiting patiently in line with the infringement notice in his hand. The answer came from the person next to him: «The same way I got a parking ticket in 1994 for a car I had transferred to someone else in 1993,» said M. Papadeas, who has been asked to pay 75 euros for someone else’s infringement. «I’ve been here all this time for fines I’ve already paid,» said another man, showing Kathimerini the proof. «I called 195 but they said I had to come here.» Further down the line, V. Moros says: «I’ve never found a parking ticket on my car. I’m a law-abiding person. But I received notification that they had booked me three days in a row on Ermou Street, at the same number.» A. Katsaras has been waiting silently in the queue, holding a ticket from 1997, when his car was being driven by his son, but neither the details of the car nor the exact date of the infringement are written on the ticket. Since 1984 M. Vassileiadis, a pensioner, keeps looking at some papers he has that refer to three parking tickets, the oldest of which dates back to 1984 (after 20 years the statute of limitations applies to the fines). «Of course I haven’t got the tickets to hand,» he tells Kathimerini. «I don’t think I would have thrown them out. But how can I remember, after so many years?» Yet the City of Athens took the trouble to let him know he owes 139 euros. M. Livanis didn’t need anyone to remind him about his incident. He remembers very well that day when he was in a car belonging to his daughter, a pediatrician, who had to park illegally somewhere in central Athens to attend a sick child. «I stayed in the car, which had the doctor’s sign on it,» he recalls. «But the parking inspector didn’t want to know. In the end he booked us. The fine is 60 euros.» And while all this was going on at the municipal office, right outside the building the usual chaos reigned: double-parked cars, motorcycles on the sidewalk, and a police vehicle parked in a space reserved for people with special needs.