Parking lot owners have a friendly relationship with towing services, including aggressive enforcement practices and kickbacks.  This happy marriage has caused so much pain for so many. I’ve never been towed myself, but I’ve seen the loss of productivity the status quo causes.

Create a service where a parking lot owner can log in or call with the vehicle information. The service then contacts the vehicle owner, informing them of the violation. The service would have some fancy software to look up email, text, and phone information based on the Dept of Motor Vehicles basic owner information. The parking lot owner is provided status updates, but not the personal information of the car owner. If  a reasonable time has passed and the vehicle owner has not shown up, the lot owner calls the towing service as normal.

The above idea sucks. If you haven’t seen the gaping holes yet, let me point out a few.

  • Why would the lot owner want to go through extra hoops, just to loose kickbacks?
  • Who would want to pay for this service? Not the lot owners or the towing service, and the car owner isn’t a party to the transaction until services have been rendered.
  • Car owners would quickly learn they could park illegally but they just need to move when they get the call, which could actually increase the number of violations.

Now for the real plan:

Sell directly to the municipalities. Along with the contract, provide to the legislature an ordinance that requires all lot owners to use this service first. The municipality gets to charge the individual a fee, just like a traditional parking ticket, and in fact the local government can leverage their existing infrastructure that performs ticket remittance. This new revenue is shared between the local government and the service provider.

Going directly to the municipalities helps with another hole in the plan – how to gain access to the private vehicle information. In this model my corporation is a sub-contractor of the local government, who is officially the entity making the information request. This makes for a much smoother request process.

It is true that this model will destroy a healthy segment of the economy – the legal ransoming of cars. But in its place it will create a new, more reasonable economic benefit for the local government, and it will largely stop the enormous individual loss of productivity associated with retrieving a towed car.