By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A controversial amnesty program for drivers with Philadelphia parking tickets appears to be paying off. That’s according to the city councilwoman who championed the program.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell introduced the legislation creating the program after receiving many constituent calls from drivers overwhelmed with what they owed the Parking Authority. She still gets calls she says.

“We had a lady who called us Friday before last crying,” Blackwell said.

But now, the twist is, they’re tears of joy.

“A senior citizen on fixed income, she had been paying $99 a month,” Blackwell explained, “and now, since she went down there for the amnesty, she has to pay $13 a month.”

Blackwell had to overcome opposition from the Kenney administration, which feared lost revenue when tickets written before 2013 were forgiven, but Blackwell says, in fact, nearly 4,000 people settled up in the program’s first three weeks, bringing the city nearly $350,000.

“It’s money the city would not have gotten,” she said, “and it makes people not feel like victims, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Drivers have until April 30 to sign up.