3 California Cities Blocking Parking Ticket App For Being Too Useful
There’s an app for just about everything it seems, including apps for parking tickets, apparently. One of these apps, called Fixed, is specifically designed to do several things with parking and/or traffic tickets. When you get a ticket, you take a picture of it with your camera on your phone. From there, the app allows you to automate the process of paying the ticket or disputing it. Specifically, by scanning the picture of the ticket you’ve taken, the app will automatically scan the ticket for common mistakes that are made that might invalidate the ticket entirely, at which point you can use the app to lodge your dispute. Sounds incredibly useful, right?
Well, three California cities think it’s so useful that they’ve done everything in their power to block people from using it to dispute or pay their tickets, because that’s apparently easier than getting officers to simply write tickets correctly.
The startup has had issues with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for some time. The agency was never all that receptive to the service, and the way it automated the ticket contesting process for locals. Using its app, Fixed customers could snap a photo of their parking ticket using their phone’s camera, and then Fixed would check against a variety of common errors before writing a customized letter to the city on the user’s behalf. The app also cleverly tapped into Google Street View to check to see if the city had the proper signage in place in the area a ticket was received. However, even when customers didn’t beat their ticket, the app could help automate the payment without having to use a city’s often outdated website.
Of course, the cities haven’t been welcoming to an app that was aimed at helping locals not pay their tickets by automating the process of jumping through legal loopholes. When Fixed began faxing its submissions to SFMTA last year, the agency emailed the startup to stop using their fax machine. When Fixed pointed out that it was legal to do so, the agency simply shut off their fax.