City Desk

You’re Going to Get Parking Tickets. Now There’s an App for Paying Them.

The average person in D.C. pays $159 a year in parking tickets—that's more than any other city in the country, according to a study by Parking Today.

Luckily (perhaps), a new app has launched to help all of D.C.'s flagrant parkers. Boston-based TicketZen allows users to scan their parking tickets and pay them on their phone using a credit card. The app is integrated with the District's Department of Motor Vehicle's online payment system, allowing users to directly pay the D.C. government, with TicketZen tacking on a $1 transaction fee.

TicketZen launched in Boston last December, and is now available in D.C., Cambridge, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and State College, Pa. Cort Johnson, one of the co-founders of the app, says the team ultimately hopes to have a note printed on actual tickets letting drivers knows they can pay their fine on TicketZen, but so far hasn't had much luck collaborating with city officials.

"We wanted to create a way that makes it really easy to pay," Johnson says. "Optimally we would love to have [the city] advertise that."

The idea of the app is to allow people to pay their tickets quickly after finding a ticket on their dashboard.  In D.C., tickets can take up to 48 hours to process. TicketZen would allow people to scan their ticket, and if the ticket hasn't been processed yet, the app would automatically search the city's ticket database and send users a push notification when the ticket is available to be paid. The app is free to download and can only be used to pay parking tickets, not moving violations.

If people actually download the app, TicketZen stands to make some serious money. In 2012, D.C. issued nearly 2 million tickets, or about 7.3 tickets per minute when accounting for times that parking is free.

Photo by Wayan Vota via via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0.

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