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Queens Drivers Frustrated As They Wait On Long Line For Parking Permits -- Every Month

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- More than 100 people spent hours waiting on line Wednesday morning, for a special permit in a multi-level parking garage in Queens.

And as CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, the people in the queue said they have to do it every month now due to a policy change.

The drivers at the Court Square Municipal Parking Garage in Long Island City were stuck going through a long wait as they tried to secure their monthly parking passes.

"This is nonsense," said driver Debbie Conway.

"I'm here at 7:30, and now it's 10 after 10," added driver George Shailas. "I just pay my ticket."

For some, the nearly three-hour wait paid off with a coveted $200 permit.

But others waited in vain. A man said those in charge at the garage cut off the line and refused to issue anymore permits after a certain point.

"That's pretty crazy," he said.

The old policy for securing a monthly spot was much easier, according to Jim Rohan. And it didn't involve first-come, first-serve lines.

"I've parked here for seven and a half years, Rohan said. "I signed up. I had a monthly spot every month. I'd pay my 200 bucks, and I was renewed for another month."

Making matters worse the loss of space, drivers said.

According to the website for the city Department of Transportation, the Long Island City garage has 703 spaces, about 320 of which are reserved for permit holders. But now, they are only giving out 211 monthly permit passes because the DOT is using the spots for other purposes such as construction equipment storage.

"This floor down here used to be for public, but it was for monthly public people," Conway said. "And now all of a sudden, they went with the city; that they have these speed vehicles," a driver said.

Some drivers said they just don't have time to go through the line every month.

"My job is not going turn around and say, 'OK, you can take three hours from your work schedule so that you can stand on a line to reset your monthly pass – no," said Debbie Conway. "There should be an easier way."

The DOT told CBS2 that customers have complained that the previous monthly pass renewal setup kept others from being able to apply for the permits. The DOT said the new first-come, first-serve policy gives everyone an equal opportunity.

As for the fewer spaces, the DOT said it increased the daily and hourly spaces, and is using other spots for DOT vehicles that cannot be parked on the street.

Some drivers were also questioning exactly who got the passes Wednesday morning, since they said there were fewer than 211 people on line – though several were turned away.

CBS2's Gainer called the garage manager's office, and was told 211 permits were given out.

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