11-hour wait, 3-hour parking limit: Man ticketed while stuck in B.C. passport line
The Richmond resident had spent approximately 11 hours waiting in line for his travel documents, but the adjoining parking lot of Central City Mall, where the Service Canada office is located, has a three-hour limit.
"I was annoyed," Diaz told CTV News. "If the wait is this long, they shouldn't be penalizing us."
Lengthy waits have become the norm at many passport offices as Service Canada works through a massive backlog of applications, despite the recent implementation of a new triage process designed to save people time in the queue.
When Diaz arrived at Central City at around 3 a.m. Wednesday, he said there were already about 20 people lined up, including a couple with a baby. He never considered parking limitations while setting up the chair where he'd be sitting through the early morning hours, before finally seeing an agent at around 2 p.m.
When he was inside the passport office, he noticed signs alerting people about the parking lot's three-hour limit, but by then he was reluctant to move his car.
"I don't think anyone wanted to leave the room and risk losing our turn," he said.
According to the mall's website, there are parking spots available for extended hours – for a price – at "offsite and adjacent surface and underground lots."
While Diaz acknowledged he made a mistake, he still believes there should be exceptions for people trapped in the passport lineup, which is a daily occurrence. He told CTV News he wanted to share his story to prevent someone else from getting dinged with their own $80 fine.
CTV News has reached out to Concord Parking, which issued the ticket, to ask about possible exceptions for people waiting at the mall for passport service, but has not heard back.
Diaz also praised Service Canada's new triage system, which helped him see an agent and ensure his passport was ready for pickup by Thursday, one day before his scheduled flight to London.
His parking ticket does sting, however, especially after he was forced to pay an extra $100 for an expedited temporary passport.
His current passport isn't expired or lost, but he mailed it to Service Canada in May to get a certified copy, and is still waiting to receive it back.
"An agent said I should definitely get my passport back because it was just a copy request, but apparently they're so backlogged that they haven't gotten to it yet," he said.