Sacramento is planning to test a new feature on downtown parking meters: parking ticket insurance, reports the Sacramento Bee. When I saw the headline I imagined a $1 a month premium that would insure the buyer and cover any ticket fines, but it’s a different concept. Instead of paying ticket fines for you, the program, called SpotZone, is a smartphone application that lets users buy additional time if they go over their two-hour maximum at the meter. So, it’s insurance, but not the traditional kind. Those who opt in can buy more time at the meter for a price that rises, but isn’t punitive.
The first two hours at the meter cost $1.75 each. That’s the regular price. Hour three costs $3. Every hour after that costs $3.75. You don’t have to walk back to the meter to pay for the extra hours; you pay remotely from your iPhone.
I like the idea of actual parking ticket insurance much better than this app. In a place like New York or San Francisco, where you are sure to get a ticket at least once a year, a little insurance could come in handy. I’m not sure it would be legal, but it seems practical. It could be administered by the city and cover one ticket per quarter, but after that you’re cut off. Any extra funds could go toward parking improvements. Getting a ticket is a crummy experience and plenty of people would be relieved to know their fines were covered. I’m not talking about regular offenders here – just people who occasionally screw up and find a white envelope on their windshield.
This is a brainstorm of a blog, but new concepts don’t show up every day, so they should be explored when they do.
Read the article here.