Our world looks a lot different than it did fifteen, or even ten, years ago. The advent of smartphones has put a computer in the hands of almost everyone these days, allowing for a greater access to information, as well as easing the way we go about a lot of our daily activities.
It seems natural to embrace new technology to be able to make our days easier, but often, other motives get in the way. For instance, take a look at the ongoing debate between the Philadelphia Parking Authority and Philadephia’s mayor’s administration.
The Parking Authority is interested in adopted a pay-by-smartphone app to allow its citizens to select and pay for a spot from their phone. Services like this exist around the country, one of the most popular of which being a mobile app provided by Parkmobile. However, they have been met with opposition by the city’s mayoral administration, who argues that the revenue generated by overdue parking tickets is a major source of funding for the city’s public schools. Concerned that by easing citizens’ ability to pay for their parking space upon parking, schools will lose the ability to generate money they need. Last year, the city cited, the amount of money awarded to Philadelphia’s schools as a result of parking tickets was $9.7 billion.
“This is innovation. It’s about making it easier to pay the meter.”
– Parking Authority executive director Vince Fenerty
It is an interesting conundrum for mobile developers, such as Quickit, who seek to both ease the ability to pay for parking and bring additional revenue to the city. Citizens of Philadelphia argue that the city has a responsibility to allow parkers to pay for parking easily, and that an increase in the initial parking cost might alleviate the problem.
For now, the city’s mayoral administration has asked the Parking Authority to run a revenue analysis to determine the financial hit to the city. But the moral questions lingers: is it right for a city to expect revenue from overdue parking tickets? Should parkers have a right to pay the meter easily?