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Police Department
Police Department

The Berkeley Smart Boot Program

On October 18, 2011 the City of Berkeley began “booting” vehicles that have 5 or more outstanding parking citations. This program is a substitute to a past practice of towing an eligible car and then impounding those vehicles.  Nearly seven months into the operation, the program is running quite smoothly.

**The best way to resolve your citations (besides self release) is through the City of Berkeley Finance Department.
It is timely and a more efficient method.

The numbers of vehicles in the City of Berkeley that have been the subject of a boot has tapered since the start of the program, which was expected. In the month of November 2011 as an example, there were 177 vehicles booted, 23 towed with a self release percentage of 81%. That is to say, 81 % of the time, the vehicle owner resolved the outstanding citations, and was able to release the boot from their tire. In December 2011, 99 vehicles were booted, 18 towed with a 94% self release percentage.

Under the previous system, drivers or owners of impounded cars would have to go to the City of Berkeley Customer Service Center and the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) before being able to retrieve their cars from the impound lot.

Under the Smart Boot Program, motorists can call the Paylock 24-hour Help Center and pay their citations over the phone.
They can then release the boot from the car and return it at their convenience.


Frequently Asked Questions

When does the program start?
This program started October 18, 2011.

How do I get the boot off of my car? 
You can call the Paylock Boot Release Line to make a payment over the phone.
The phone number is 877-205-5566. Once you make payment, you will be able to remove the device yourself.

What do I do with the boot?
Paylock SmartBoots may be returned to:
Avenue Towing
1429 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702
M-F (8am - 5pm) Call 510-524-2400 for drop off outside of office hours
*No payments will be accepted at this location

I want to pay in person. Where can I pay?
Berkeley Finance Department
1947 Center Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
M-Th (8:30am - 4pm)
Closed Fri, Sat, Sun and Holidays

How long do I have until my vehicle is towed?
If the vehicle is parked legally, a 48 hour grace period will be given from the time the vehicle is booted until the vehicle is towed.

What makes my vehicle boot eligible?
A vehicle becomes boot eligible when it has 5 or more unpaid (outstanding) parking citations that are 30 days or older.

If a driver calls 311, who can they be referred to?
311 Customer Service Operators will direct all booted motorists to the 877-205-5566 number for the Boot Release Line.

There is a strange vehicle in my neighborhood with cameras on it, why?
The vehicle you see is the Berkeley booting vehicle. The cameras scan license plates to identify vehicles with outstanding parking citations and to determine if they are boot eligible.

I do not want to be booted, how should I pay for my tickets?
Go to the “Online Payment” section of

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Police Department, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-5900
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903