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I will, actually, pay your parking ticket!

I will pay your parking ticket.

Today I am launching the most ridiculous site I’ve ever made.

It was inspired by something that happened at this year’s brilliant FlashBelt, where we all decided to get together and pay some poor guy’s parking ticket.

[sorry, viddler video no longer available]

I don’t know why we did it, but it seemed kinda fun, and I thought that maybe the person who got the ticket would be cheered up by the fact that $24 + €5
+ £5 was in an envelope along with their parking ticket.

Lucky minnesotan

The next day I decided to do a search on twitter to see if I could find the the guy who’d had his ticket mysteriously paid. Sadly, I couldn’t find him. Instead, I found hundreds and hundreds of tweeters who had also got parking tickets. Some of them were angry, some were sympathetic, and some were just downright weird.

But they were all interesting!

So I got together with my good friend Jamie Matthews and made It agregates all the parking ticket related tweets on twitter, and allows you to send the poor tweeters love, depending on how much you think they deserve.

Every month, I will then find the one that has had the most love, and pay their ticket for them!

It’s been ages since I last did any web programming (ie not Flash) and it’s come such a long way! I discovered Django, thanks to Simon Willison, the brilliant Brighton geek responsible for the recent crowd-sourcing MP expense report reviewing system at the Guardian.

And I also discovered jQuery, Cufon, and the Yahoo css reset code.

But I have to admit, Jamie did most of the hard work on the server side. I just decided what colour things should be, and of course wrangled with the front end stuff.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make the site more sticky, and of course, figure out exactly how to get the money to the people. And perhaps also allow people to donate money so I don’t have to pay it all myself? Who knows!?

And, in line with my new policy of making as much of my work open source as possible, we’re releasing it with a BSD license and you can check it all out on github.

Please try out the site, let me know what you think, and I’ll keep you informed of how it goes!

11 replies on “I will, actually, pay your parking ticket!”

You might want to make some kind of provision to ensure you don’t pay parking tickets for those who were blocking emergency services access – sometimes there’s actually a good reason why parking isn’t allowed.

@Delai of course that’s absolutely true. I hope that the public will filter out people who are obviously deliberately causing obstructions, and looking at the tweets, you’ll see that the vast majority didn’t actually knowingly flout parking rules.

But that’s not really the point. The point is that someone who at least seems to deserve cheering up gets cheered up.

Sometimes they’ll genuinely deserve it and sometimes they won’t. That’s the risk you have to take. That’s part of the charm. If I spent ages vetting people to see whether they truly deserved it or not, then it would suddenly become a very boring project!

Emmm… I get the idea and it’s quite interesting but I hate people who complain about getting parking tickets. It’s the law! That’s it! You know the law and you knew you were breaking it, so why start moaning about it when you get caught? Even if you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to park there, take it as a lesson.

You don’t hear murderers complaining when they get caught killing someone! Obviously that’s a completely different matter but parking tickets are for a reason. If anybody could just park anywhere, anytime, our streets would be a shambles.

Take your punishment and learn from it. Nobody deserves to have their stupid and selfish mistakes catered for. Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic about this!?

Hehehe yes I think that there is a very real and direct comparison to be made between murderers and parking ticket violators… 🙂

I don’t know about you but I have never knowingly parked illegally, and yet I still have received tickets. It is these poor victims of the system that I am interested in helping.

Bad things happen to good guys Seb 🙁

One other thing; if you pay a ticket once a month after collating the data, surely by that time the person will have already paid and forgotten about their ticket. Won’t it take a bit of the shine off your generosity if you’re just handing them cash long after they’ve paid the actual fine?

@David Fox possibly, but I don’t really see any way around that. Except to pay for people’s tickets every week! Perhaps I need that PayPal donate button after all… 😉

seb, that has to be one of the funniest dénouements for a video;

“This car is a rich guy’s car. That’s a poor guy’s car. He obviously needs it more.”

“Yeah, all right, let’s pay his ticket.”

You know I’ll chip in in Brighton.

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