Never, ever forget: the Silicon Valley insider crowd is exempt from the rules and norms of the rest of the citizenry. TechCrunch excitedly reports on a new app called "Fixed," which will help San Franciscans automatically kill parking tickets, whether or not they deserve it.
Yes: parking in a city is miserable.
Yes: parking tickets are sometimes bullshit.
But: giving a very small group of people an app to easily dodge the penalties everyone else is subject to, that, that is not good. What makes Fixed so alluring is that you can be completely in the wrong and still have a decent chance of beating a ticket.
TechCrunch explains how the app, currently in a "small beta trial," works:
Up to 50 percent of parking tickets are dismissed when fought in court, but it takes knowledge and time to do it. New app Fixed will do it for you. Take a photo of your ticket, Fixed contests it, and if it's dismissed, you pay Fixed 25 percent of the ticket price. If Fixed loses, you pay it nothing, so there's nothing to lose.
Yes, but, what about the consequences of releasing an automated flood of legal complaints to the municipal government?
Now, there's an argument to be made that fighting parking tickets just takes money from the community. Ticket revenue can go to pay for important local infrastructure, and a lot of tickets are designed to prevent people from unsafely parking, obstructing other cars, or endlessly squatting on spots. And sending frivolous contest letters could slow down the whole legal system.
But still, I agree with Hegarty that it sometimes feels like city governments are unfairly sucking blood from people who can't afford garages or private car services like Uber.
Since there's not an Instagram for Logical Fallacies yet, let's give this a shot the old fashioned way: you don't have to choose between spamming the government with boilerplate legal complaints and taking a massively expensive Uber everywhere. And perhaps, if San Francisco kept some of the tens of millions of dollars it reaps from traffic tickets each year, and didn't have a Silicon Valley sycophant as mayor, it could spend that cash to bolster public transit.
Or just let an app put a bandaid on our ills—that's more fashionable. The pocketable smartphone resemblance of progress is always easier than the real thing.