Where do you park for a downtown show? You are going to need an app

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Now that Buffalo’s theatre season is back, parking could lead to some unwanted drama unless you go prepared. An out-of-town visitor got more than she bargained for, coming out of a downtown show.

If you are going to Shea’s, for instance, unless you get there early and park on the street, you are going to need your smartphone to park anywhere near the theatre, which Tracie Nye and her family learned the hard way.

Nye’s mom surprised her with tickets to “Frozen, the Broadway Musical” at Shea’s Buffalo.

“And it was spectacular. It was a really great show,” Nye said. But after the show, as Tracie, her mom and sister headed toward her car they found a parking ticket on the windshield that said she failed to pay for parking.

“We came outside to the parking lot where we parked at and a lot of the cars, including mine, had tickets on them. I am not sure why — I paid, I could not tell you,” Nye told News 4.

Tracie looked for an attendant to try to straighten the ticket out, but there was no one around, although earlier in the night when she and her family were pulling into the parking lot.

“There were attendants down there that handed you a piece of paper that says, ‘we are now cashless here is the information for the download to get the app,’ and you just pay on the app and go from there.”

Along the streets adjacent to the Theatre District, as far, as the eye can see, the former pay machines have been removed from the parking booths and are pay by app only. Tracie showed the proof she paid the $25 event charge plus a 35 cent transaction fee and called to remove the charge.

The company representative looked up her citation, confirmed she did actually pay, and attributed the discrepancy to a glitch in the app — the “O” on her license plate showed up as a zero.

“I feel better now that I know it was a mistake on their part, entered in a number wrong, or a letter wrong, or something on my plate, but it was a different number than what they use,” said Nye.

Most of the downtown surface lots are automated. The Pay2Park representative told Tracie, they did field some complaints similar to hers, which they are handling on a case-by-case basis.

Those parking apps, in some cases, let you reserve a space ahead of time.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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