San Francisco & L.A. Block App That Helped Drivers Dispute Parking Tickets

Fixed is a smartphone app that tried to help drivers dispute parking tickets, but that aspect of the service is no longer usable in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Oakland after those cities blocked the company’s access to their parking enforcement websites.

The app worked by having real humans review photos of your ticket to look for common errors and review Google Street View images to check for signage problems. Fixed would then send a customized letter to parking authorities; if it got the ticket thrown out, you paid a fee of 25% of the original ticket. If the appeal didn’t work, you could still pay your ticket through Fixed.

But San Francisco’s parking enforcement folks apparently didn’t want to hear from a company whose business model was based on overturning parking tickets.

According to TechCrunch, first the city tried to stop Fixed from faxing the agency — going so far as to disconnect their fax machines.

Then the city directed Xerox, which operates the parking ticket websites for San Francisco, L.A., and Oakland, to start blocking the company’s access to these sites.

At first, it was a simple Captcha check and a block on Fixed’s IP addresses. Those were just speed bumps, but then Xerox hired yet another third party to bolster the blocking. Fixed says it could still get around these roadblocks, but it wasn’t worth the effort, especially since Xerox was now doing the blocking in all three of the markets for which it handled tickets.

So last month, the company put a halt on the parking ticket service and transitioned to handling disputes over moving violations.

“Parking Ticket Fines account for 15% of the SFMTA [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency] operating budget,” Fixed founder David Hegarty tells TechCrunch, “and it looks like they objected to us providing some accountability to their process.”