Surrey and Abbotsford hospitals ‘targeted’ for pay parking profit, activist says

John Buss, of HospitalPayParking.ca, says it’s ‘way out of whack’

Surrey Memorial Hospital and Abbotsford Regional Hospital in particular are being targeted for pay-parking fine revenue more than other local hospitals where Impark is the lot operator.

That’s according to John Buss, a North Delta resident and “lead volunteer” of HospitalPayParking.ca, which represents a group opposed to pay parking at hospitals on grounds this poses a “financial barrier” to the public, subjects patients to unnecessary stress and is something patient care is not dependent on.

Buss, who is also an entrepreneur and inventor of household projects bases this on FOI request responses he’s obtained over nearly two years.

“Look at Surrey, look at the number of tickets handed out there versus say the second-largest hospital Royal Columbian, with the same style parking, way out of whack. So obviously those of us living in the Surrey area, and those in Abbotsford, which is more rural, are being targeted for profits,” he told the Now-Leader. “This is a scheme where the violation revenue is kept 100 per cent by the operator, Impark, and that’s a concern I think, for a lot of people. Surrey and Abbotsford, specifically, I don’t know why they’re doing this. It’s unclear why they’re targeting these two hospitals.”

An Impark representative could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

Pay parking at Surrey Memorial Hospital brings in bigger money than many people might realize despite a good chunk of the tickets going unpaid.

According to statistics for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, obtained through Buss’s Freedom of Information requests, 12,332 parking tickets were issued at SMH at an average fine of $80, making for a potential revenue of $986,560.

Of those, 3,253 tickets were cancelled, 5,990 are outstanding and 3,090 have been paid, according to violation data compiled on Jan. 27.

In comparison, Abbotsford Regional Hospital saw 12,198 parking tickets issued, at an average payment of $80, with a potential revenue of $975,840. All told, 4,255 tickets were cancelled, 5.019 are outstanding and 2,924 parking tickets were paid.

Royal Columbian Hospital, with the third highest numbers in the FHA region, saw 3,117 tickets issued, also at an average payment of $80, with a potential revenue of $294,360, and 639 parking tickets cancelled, 1,662 tickets outstanding and 816 tickets paid.

READ ALSO: City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

READ ALSO: McCallum says no more pay parking at Surrey city hall, near hospital if he’s elected mayor

READ ALSO: Fraser Health rakes in millions through pay parking at Surrey Memorial

The figures were made public Tuesday by HospitalPayParking.ca

Impark is the lot operator at SMH, and the rest of the FHA. Based out of Vancouver, it is one of the biggest parking management businesses in North America, with more than 16,000 employees operating roughly 4,600 parking facilities in some 400 cities in Canada and the U.S. Its parent organization is the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

It’s website states: “Impark Health is committed to providing easy, safe and stress-free parking. We deliver a superior parking experience that supports the objectives and reputation of healthcare providers.”

According to the statistics obtained by Buss, pay parking at the FHA’s 11 hospitals during the 2018-2019 fiscal year altogether realized $831,600 in total estimated revenue out of a total potential revenue of $2,537,040 on account of a whopping 74.17 per cent of tickets going unpaid.

For the Interior Health Authority, where Impark is also lot operator, those figures are $459,8766, $1,105,857 and 58.41 per cent; and for Coastal Health, $269,760, $879,280 and 69.32 per cent.

For Island Health – where Robbins Parking in the lot operator – the total actual revenue was $92,407.80 with 64.44 per cent 0f tickets unpaid.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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