Fixed, a mobile app that fights parking tickets on your behalf, has now arrived in New York City – its first new market outside of California, where the company already operates. New York is one of the biggest markets for parking tickets in the U.S., Fixed founder David Hegarty notes, as it issues 10 million parking tickets per year. That’s one new ticket every three seconds, he says, equating to roughly $600 million in annual parking fines for New Yorkers.
The app, which until today has been available only in San Francisco, Oakland, and, as of last month, L.A., is a clever combination of mobile technology and a back-end legal knowledge base that understands how to contest a large variety of parking violations.
To use Fixed, consumers just download an iOS or Android application to their smartphone (or use its mobile website) and then snap a photo of their parking ticket. The app then checks for a number of common errors and proceeds to write a customized contest letter to the city on your behalf. It also taps into systems like Google Street View when necessary to determine if you’ve been fined for a violation when the proper signage wasn’t in place, for example.
The app is free to use, as it only charges a flat $1.95 fee to cover its credit card processing expenses. Instead, Fixed’s goal is only to charge a success fee when it beats a ticket for you. That fee is just 35 percent of what you would have otherwise paid the city in fines.
Today, only around 20%-30% of tickets Fixed receives are actually beaten, but consumers can still use the app as an alternative to paying their ticket through the government websites or the mail. It’s actually more convenient to use Fixed because you simply snap a photo of your ticket and then provide the app with your payment info. On government websites, meanwhile, you often have to wait for days for your ticket to be uploaded, and then you might forget. (And of course if you forget, your fines will increase!)
Plus, Fixed is sometimes cheaper than the government’s system, too. New York, for instance, charges a 2.89% convenience fee, while L.A.’s fee is $2.00, and until recently, San Francisco’s was $2.50. Fixed is always just $1.95, however.
The app recently added a new feature called “Ticket Guardian,” which will handle all your parking tickets for you automatically. It also emails customers when it spots a new ticket pop up on government websites and offers to handle it for you as a way to encourage repeat business.
Fixed has been expanding its reach and user base since first debuting its app last year, and is now processing around 1,500 tickets per week – up from the 700-800 it saw per week as of this February. The company also reports profitability in San Francisco.
Over the course of 2015, Fixed plans to expand to a number of other major U.S. cities, including Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle.