Parking tickets suck. Sometimes, you break the law and you deserve it. But other times, signs are missing or incorrect, so you end up with a fine for nothing. That’s why Fixed released an app last year that helped Americans fight the tickets in court. Some city governments aren’t having it.
Fixed is now blocked in three of its top cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles. The cities blame Xerox, the company that they use for backend support on their ticketing operations, for no longer supporting the app. However, Fixed has produced documents showing San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) explicitly discussing the app with Xerox. Furthermore, the SFMTA has tried to sabotage the apps in the past.
The thing is, Fixed isn’t doing anything illegal. In fact, the app just makes it easier for American citizens to contest tickets that they believe were wrongly issued. Parking tickets make cities a lot of money, though. San Francisco has the most expensive parking tickets in the country at $US74 a pop. That eventually adds up to around $US130 million a year in revenue for the city. No wonder the SFMTA doesn’t want sneaky technology to help people exercise their legal right to fight the tickets.
Ahead of the block, the SFMTA tried to sabotage the Fixed app in a hilarious fashion. TechCrunch reports:
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.
The old shutting-off-the-fax-machine trick! But that’s not nearly as effective as some behind the scenes work with third party services like Xerox. Fixed says it’s suspended the parking ticket services in San Francisco, Oakland, and LA due to the trouble. The company will still help Americans fight their traffic tickets. Or at least it will until more bureaucrats find a way to screw it up.
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