Best Road Survival Technique

Beating the boot
Q: Why has the city left so many mechanical, coin-operated meters in place rather than install more of the late-model, credit-card-taking, receipt-for-the-windshield-printing contraptions? A: Because, after extending paid-parking hours all over town and jacking up the rates, the Man knows nobody carries around enough quarters to adequately feed the beasts. Thus the effective new rate for parking in a legal space isn’t really $2 an hour; it’s $25 per space—the cost of an expired meter ticket. Rack up three tickets, let them sit for 30 days, and you’re boot-eligible. But once you’re booted, you can sometimes get some revenge. Scofflaws have found a defect in the contraptions that allows even folks without power tools to fight the power. In 1993, The Thistle, a student newspaper of MIT, mulled the various methods of beating the boot. Turns out Frank Marugg’s classic 1955 design depends heavily on the booted tire being inflated. Unless the boot is perfectly installed—which, according to the MIT report, “is not an easy process”—booted motorists can “remove the boot by letting the air out of the tire and simply sliding the whole thing off.” ’Course, all the deflation in the world won’t take your past-due tickets off the books. So the only way to completely beat the Man: Once you get your car free, pack your belongings in it and leave town.