New York to make parking ticket payment less painful

| January 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Getting a parking ticket is a pain anywhere you drive, but, in New York City, paying for it can be a particular hassle. That city’s drivers rack up between 8 to 10 million parking tickets yearly, which adds up to between $550 to $600 million in revenue. Now, reports Engadget, New York City is attempting to make the process of paying slightly less unsavory by inviting people to submit pitches for tech-enabled payment systems (such as a system that accepts the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Paypal, or Apple Pay, which enables payment by iPad, iPhone or the Apple Watch).

new york cop writing a parking ticket

New York City’s ticketing system is about to get a whole lot smoother. Image from Instant Vantage.

Currently the City accepts parking fine payments in person at courthouses, by mail, and via its website, but, as MarketWatch notes, the current “online system is not mobile friendly and credit and debit card payments are subject to a 2.5% convenience fee.” The potential solutions that the City is searching for must meet a set of guidelines, such as the ability to support “windshield tickets,” which are those tickets that have been handed out but not yet processed.

Other requirements include zero or very low cost to the City and the system’s users, as well as an “aesthetically pleasing interface.” The best ideas, according to the Request For Information, will be simple — requiring, perhaps, just a single click — and may include the capability of snapping a photo of the parking ticket or scanning a barcode to pay. The City is accepting submissions until January 15 for evaluation.

As the City’s Department of Finance (DOF) puts it, “After an internal review of DOF’s current payment channels and of recent developments in contemporary payment technologies… DOF believes that emerging technologies may provide a convenient way for motorists to expeditiously pay their parking tickets via a smartphone or mobile device.”

New York isn’t new to the digital ticketing game. TicketZen, for one, is an app that lets drivers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, Cambridge, State College (and now New York) pay for tickets by scanning a barcode or entering a violation number. The city of Madeira Beach in Florida will soon accept Bitcoin for parking ticket payment, and, back in October, a New Hampshire man paid for a parking ticket — and finagled a discount — with Bitcoin, via the app Brawker, which is used for buying and selling goods and services with the cryptocurrency. Overseas, the French provide an easy-to-use site for paying tickets, as does the city of London.

Other apps, like PayByPhone, help drivers avoid fees to begin with by letting them virtually feed the meter via smartphones. It’s available throughout the U.S. (although, in New York, it’s currently only in the Bronx) as well as cities throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The city of Chicago has its own mobile meter payment system, ParkChicago, while another app, Fixed, aims to help San Francisco drivers fight tickets based on certain grounds such as fading paint or broken meters; it even provides users with the odds of beating their tickets.

Interested in contributing your own ideas? Check out the official Request For Information to learn more about the proposals New York City is seeking.

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Category: No Parking, Parking Tech

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