Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding weekly The Suburban.

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 10.23.06


Double dipping in and by the city

MONTREAL | Perhaps you have noticed that parking here is becoming more difficult all the time. It seems that our city government seems to want to make it more and more expensive and annoying to shop and entertain downtown.

For instance, many meters only give you two hours for six dollars. But you cannot see a movie in two hours.

So are you expected to run out of the film right at the climactic moment to refill the meter? You don't have time for dinner either: "I'm sorry, I can't have any dessert. I have to refill my meter."

One friend suggested hiring a designated parker: someone to sit in your car and refill the meter until you get back. They have "car minders" in Third World countries.

But that is not all. With the new meter system, the city -- in their greed -- is double dipping.

In the old system, if there was still time on the meter, the next parked car would use it. After all, it was paid for. But now, when a car leaves a space, the new user has to start from zero.

So the city is in effect renting the same parking time, twice.

Surely it won't be long until some trickster is going to get wise to this situation and realize that he can easily bring down the entire system.

He only has to find a row of parked cars where the drivers who have paid at the machine still have at least an hour left to go. Then punch in the numbers of the parking spaces taken by these innocent drivers and put in twenty-five cents for each space. That will buy five minutes.

Because the machine doesn't know the previous car is still in the space, it will act as if that car has left and the new user is taking the space for only five minutes.

The trickster only has to buy five minutes for each of the cars. This might cost him all of two dollars and fifty cents. Then he can cross the street and wait until the five minutes are up and the Green Onion arrives to write out the tickets.

If he is sufficiently sadistic he will also wait an hour or so until the drivers return to find their automobiles have been ticketed even though they paid for all the time they used.

These car owners will be very angry. But eventually the astute among them will double check the time written on their parking ticket with the time they are allowed to park printed clearly on their parking meter printouts.

They will see that they were legally allowed to be in the space even as they were ticketed for running out the meter.

Although some might pay their fines and grumble, eventually others will contest them in court.

Because you can't be fined for a parking infraction you didn't commit, the judge will have no choice but to side with the drivers and the entire Montreal parking meter system will be exposed as being fraudulent.

Why this fact wasn't recognized by the city government before they set up their new meters is baffling. Either they are as incompetent as their critics say they are or they truly believe that Montrealers are mugs who are willing to pay twice for the same thing.

Until this happens though, I suggest you find some little street, a little free parking oasis that still exists during specified hours: a remnant of a more innocent, more human time long gone by.

I have found a few about a 15-minute walk from downtown. I would like to tell you where they are but I can't. If I did that there would be no spaces left for me.