Ninja-like technology helps parkers dodge pricey parking fines
Steve Chamraz reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE -- Ignore a parking ticket, and it will come back to haunt you.
In the city of Milwaukee, a simple meter parking violation can grow from $22 to $52 if left unpaid for a couple months.
That is why Nick Gartmann devised an automated way to make sure tickets are paid in a timely fashion.
"I kept forgetting to pay them," Gartmann said. "I often have other things on my mind."
It's understandable. Gartmann is a busy man, as he helps develop software for local companies.
But he found the time to write a piece of code for himself.
For months, one of Gartman's programs has been trolling the Milwaukee parking violation database from a computer squirreled away in his closet.
Each night, it searched for his license plate number and alerted him if a new ticket escaped his attention.
Once he found the system worked, he decided to open the idea to everyone -- and the Ticket Ninja was born.
"He jumps in at the last second right before your ticket goes up in price and takes it away and pays it for you," he explained.
When a driver signs up, the Ticket Ninja keeps a credit card on file within the automated system.
If a ticket is not paid by the ninth day after it was issued, the Ticket Ninja pays it automatically -- for a $3 fee.
The system is already online for Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago.
Next up is Racine, which even wants to help Gartmann put his plan into action.
"Racine reached out to me and asked when they can get their integration," he said. "It actually helps with delinquent payments. It really helps the city stay on top of its cash flow."