New rules for valet operators went into effect in February, after three years of tense City Council debates. In a city where parking spaces are revered like land claims in colonial times, valets often stake a place illegally, using intimidating signage to cordon off (and charge for) what should be free or metered parking spaces available to the public.
No more. Councilmen enacted a governance over these rogue parking-space hoarders, and now we the people have protected rights to much-coveted street parking. We are empowered, never to be taken advantage of by the valet racket again. Here are the new rules, broken down:
Valet businesses will now be required to have a nearby parking lot and can no longer use public street parking. Finally! We no longer have to shake our heads at valet attendants who pull our Prius up to the restaurant from a spot half a block down.
Valet operators are now required to have a permit, which cost approximately $300 for operators and $70 for attendants. How was this not required before?! We have to get permits for everything—even planting trees—but they didn’t need permits to play Tetris with our cars?
Valet operators must show proof of insurance. Again, duh.
Licensed and Checked
All valet drivers must be licensed and complete background checks. (We definitely would like anyone who drives a car at all, and especially professionally, to be licensed. Good idea, City.)
Unpermitted valet businesses may be subject to citation, arrest or criminal charges if they don’t comply with the new rules. A violation can cost up to $2,500 per violation per day (significantly more expensive than paying the required permit and insurance fees). In addition, valet operators and attendants could be arrested and face criminal charges if found working without a permit. Yikes. That’s punishment. But it stings less than the hours we’ve lost circling for parking, trying to avoid paying a valet $20 for something we could do ourselves.