How Anonymous Texting Can One Day Help You Avoid Tow Trucks, Parking Tickets, & Vandalized Cars
Parking is about as fun as running through a swarm of bees while being chased by a pack of wolves from The Grey.
There have been many times when I have come across some of the most terrible, idiotic parking jobs in the world, and really could do nothing about it. I've seen cars parked right next to fire hydrants, cars parked about a football field away from the curb, and cars that take about up about 3 spaces in a crowded parking lot.
Now a nice, calm citizen may leave a helpful note displaying their concern or warning the driver of a potential ticket. But as for me, I'd rather wait underneath the chassis until they come back. Then as soon as they try and open the door I reach out and grab them by the ankles, Sixth Sense style, and yell, "Hummers aren't compacts, asshole!"
I honestly think that method would be much more effective. But not too many people agree with me (plus, it's probably iffy from a legal standpoint).
That's why some folks from San Francisco created a way to help everyone with parking concerns. The service is called CurbTXT and it could change the way we go about parking.
Car owners in San Francisco can register their vehicles by entering in their license plate number and cell phone number. Once registered, a CurbTXT member can receive messages regarding his or her car.
The service is about as simple as it gets. There's no app to download, it can be used with any phone (even old-school flip phones), and you don't have to log in to view messages.
A tiny, circular sticker with the CurbTXT logo placed next to the license plate lets others know that the car's owner is part of the program and wants to receive messages about their car. Messages are sent by entering the state abbreviation plus the license plate number, and anyone can send you a message once you sign up—even if they don't have an account themselves.
There are tons of situations where this could be incredibly useful. For example, if your meter is about to run out, a friendly neighbor can use your license plate number to send you a text message, warning you about your car.
Now, imagine if this type of program was implemented nationally and by law enforcement. What if—and this is a BIG what if—but what if a parking enforcement officer could send you a message before they write you a ticket? With your car registered, shouldn't they be obligated to warn you if they have the opportunity? I mean they are supposed to be public servants, after all.
What if an advanced parking meter was able to send you a push notification when there is 5 minutes left on your meter? Maybe someone walks by and see someone suspicious eying your car. That person would be able to shoot you a text message, urging you to check out the situation.
The possibilities really are endless when it comes to something like this. The way we park has not really changed much at all, even with the huge advancements we've made in the last decade. And with all of this useful technology around us, I think it's about time we start thinking outside the box...or the lines.
However, the issue of privacy could definitely cause a few problems. No matter how highly we want to think of other people, there are always going to be some bad apples. It would be very easy for someone to send a prank message about your car being broken into. Not to mention the messages you could get that have absolutely nothing to do with your vehicle.
Messages are sent via the CurbTXT number so the receiver only gets your personal information if you give it to them. This is good for the person sending the message, but could also cause problems for the car owner because we all know that anonymity makes people do and say some stupid things.
CurbTXT is aware of the potential pitfalls and has implemented an easy to use report tool. Users can report inappropriate messages, and the sender can then be blocked from using the service.
Obviously, as with any new service, CurbTXT will have some bugs to work out. It's only available in San Francisco right now, but having a program like this available nationwide could go a long way towards fixing our parking problems.
What do you think of CurbTXT? Can you think of any other potential uses or problems with the service? Let us know in the comments section below.