TicketZen Lets You Pay Parking Violations By Simply Scanning the Citation

The days of standing in line at City Hall, or paying online, are over.

Image via TicketZen.com

Image via TicketZen.com

Boston officials have been trying to make it easy for residents to pay parking tickets by introducing a mobile truck that comes to their neighborhood, and offering an online alternative to get it out of the way.

But developers over at Boston-based Terrible Labs have turned the process of ponying up cash to wipe away a violation into a one-step process that can be handled instantly on your phone.

Over the last few months, the group developed “TicketZen,” a mobile app now available for both Android devices and iPhones, which lets anyone with a parking violation simply scan the barcode on their ticket using the app, and pay the fine on the spot. “I think the current flow for the citizen to pay a parking ticket is pretty cumbersome. You have to get a ticket, log on to the computer, find the URL to enter your violation number and pay it. We want to make it stupid-simple. Scan it when you see it on your windshield, then feel free to throw it away, spit on it, whatever you want,” said Cort Johnson, one of the founders of Terrible Labs, a company that builds custom web and mobile applications.

According to Johnson, TicketZen takes the hassle out of the paying process, because it allows users to take care of the situation seamlessly, and avoid stashing a ticket in a center console, or glove box, only to forget about it later and rack up hefty late fees.

Johnson and developers came up with the idea after seeing a Tweet from Kayak cofounder Paul English, who said he had wished there were an easier way to instantly pay his parking citations in Boston, using his phone.

Soon after, the team got to work, and developed the app by teaming up with Boston officials so that they could access the ticket database. “There’s some integration with the city. We have talked to them quite a bit and they have been helpful. They have been receptive to the idea,” said Johnson.

When someone gets a ticket in Boston, typically it’s scanned in by the parking employee, and uploaded to the city’s database once they return to City Hall. Users can scan the citation once they discover it on their windshield, and then when the payment option is available, a push notification within the app will go off and let them know. Once the transaction is complete and successful, they will then receive an email confirmation from the city.

A user’s credit card information is stored within the TicketZen app, so there is no need to continuously enter it every time they need to make a payment—a perk that rivals the city’s own online option to pay fines. “All you do is, in a couple of clicks, you pay it off with your stored information,” said Johnson. “You can avoid the late fees, and avoid losing your ticket.”

TicketZen is only available in Boston right now, but Johnson said they expect to expand to Somerville, Cambridge, and other surrounding municipalities, and they are even eyeing a national network.