Of course this started in San Francisco, where else. The epicenter of high tech has come up with an app that will help you out of a parking ticket. Read all about it here.
It works like this — you snap a picture of your citation and send it to “Fixed” — yes that’s the name of the app. Currently a real live person checks out the citation and offers advice on how to beat it. These are legal reasons like the officer was mistaken, the information on the ticket was incorrect, etc. “Fixed” then provides recommendation and actually writes a letter you can send to the local parking office. If the citation is revoked, “Fixed” gets 25% of the fine. If it isn’t, they get nothing.
The legal beagles checking the citations (law students) have found the following:
Already, the app flags contested tickets into four categories of protest. There are factual errors – maybe the officer misinterpreted the day on the sign. There are legal errors, perhaps when a car is parked more than 100 feet from an applicable sign. There are procedural errors (maybe the officer wrote you a ticket before the street cleaner came through instead of afterward). And then there are what Hegarty calls “appeals to fairness.” He got a ticket once for having no residential parking permit, despite the fact that he had demonstrably applied for one two months earlier.
The firm’s founder says that they are aiming to automate the process as they get more information about citations and common errors.
So, what do you think? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? After all, if this catches on, it will cut into the revenue generated by parking citations. That seems like a bad thing.
Well, perhaps not. Anything that holds our activities up to scrutiny would seem to be a good thing. If it makes parking officers more accurate, brings inconsistent laws to light, and ensures that the data collected is correct isn’t that be a good thing.
I realize that supervisors might feel that this is a direct assault on the quality of their administration, but why not? If, as in San Francisco, 26,000 citations are thrown out each year, for various a reasons maybe an outside view might be in order.
And my guess is that if there are 26,000 now, just how many improperly written citations are paid because folks don’t want to go to the trouble of fighting city hall. The App makes this easier, and right now, they say 25,000 are on the waiting list to receive the app after the beta tests are over. If the word gets out, perhaps a larger number of citations will be reviewed by “Fixed” and who knows…
Sunlight is the best antiseptic.