I spoke to series producer Andrew Dunn and executive producer Dan Flaherty of A&E’s popular reality show “Parking Wars” for last Tuesday’s issue of Metro-Philadelphia.
The show, which has followed staff of the Philadelphia Parking Authority for two seasons, is back for a third, which will also include scenes from Detroit’s parking enforcement agency. Unfortunately, that piece only ran in print, not online, although the week before I had another story on the PPA that was put on the newspaper’s Web site.
Because of space limitations, my Q&A with those two producers was additionally slashed, leaving just a few questions with Dunn. Below, I share what Flaherty, the show’s co-executive producer, had to say.
Answers from Dan Flaherty, co-executive producer of “Parking Wars,” unless otherwise noted, and questions transcribed for, but not used by Metro
This season also followed members of Detroit’s parking authority. Why the change?
“Our first two seasons were shot exclusively in Philadelphia and in getting a third season, we said ‘Let’s see what we can do.’ And Detroit is Motor City. It’s all about cars and about parking there.”
What has your experience with PPA been?
“We’re on the street. Really the show is on the ground. It’s the day in and day out with the men and women who do the job.”
Andrew Dunn, series producer: “What impresses me with the ticketing and towing and the working in the impound lot are hard jobs. They keep a lot of good people there. Somebody has to do it. They do a remarkably good job training folks and having people be efficient. I wouldn’t want to be a ticket enforcer. I have a great respect for the doing the jobs.”
How did you guys select who was in the show?
“There are a lot of folks who work at the PPA. Before we engaged in full-time shooting, we just met with as many people as we could. We interviewed them, we spoke to them, we talked to them, and from there we thought who would be good, who could articualte their experiences and the normal experiences of someone with a job with the PPA the best.”
Anything you’d like to change with the first two seasons?
“One thing you don’t ee as often on the show is get people who thank the Parking Authority. Those who enjoy watching the show and enjoy watching and learning, they’re yelling to say ‘hi.’ People come to the impound lot to take photos of these guys you see on the show. There are a lot of fans, and we don’t see that. We don’t get to show that as often as it happens.”
Do the PPA employees on the show get any perks?
“They get the personal satisfaction of being able to communicate that this is my job. This what is boring and what is difficult about my job. They are very proud of the work they do, and in terms of job satisfaction that is in a way no different than anyone else with a job they like. Those folks are not just clocking in, and I think they like to share that with our viewers.”
It’s easy to get a ticket and think of the person who is writing the ticket is just a creature, but the show does a good job of humanizing them as people with a job and responsibilities.”
Below see a clip from an earlier “Paring Wars” episode.
2 thoughts on “Metro: Q&A with “Parking Wars” TV show producers”
I live in ky, but I’ve spent my whole life in thankless but proud jobs (retired from the coast guard, now a city worker) . I feel their pride,and wish them the best. Thank ppa and thanks to A&E for bringing us the show!
Just watched an episode that shows how pathetic the PPA is run from the top down. Person from Delaware is ticketed & car was towed. There is a computer problem from DE showing her registration is suspended. She has letter from judge stating registration is clear; the PPA clerk was actually helpful (because she’s on camera?), and actually spoke to some authority from DE and confirmed the registration was clear. So we know the owner paid the fines; we know the car is clear to be released; we know there is a computer error listing a problem with the registration; the PPA staff confirmed all this with DE. Did they say, “ok, take your car, this is clearly a computer error”? No! They said, “you can pay someone to come tow your car off of the lot- we can’t let you drive it off of our lot because it’s listed as not being registered in the computer”. Unbelievable. Eventually, several hours later, tech support fixed the problem,band the lady got her far back. but come on now, seriously- how is this acceptable? And this is the kind of crap people are up against with the PPA, SEPTA, DRPA, you name it. If you are anywhere near Philadelphia and dealing with any acronym-group that is run by the government, or is itself a quasi-governmental agency, this is what you can expect.