Tech

Amsterdam: app that prevents parking fines must stop

The municipality believes that Parking Alarm is guilty of a privacy violation and inciting tax evasion. The municipality wants to initiate summary proceedings if Parking Alarm Clock does not cease its activities within seven days.

Initiator Luis Roman does not intend to. “We see that many unnecessary fines are being handed out. That causes frustration for people,” says Roman. “We are trying to solve this problem with Parking Alarm and do not intend to stop”. The start-up has hired a lawyer who is now investigating the case.

The Parking Alarm camera uses artificial intelligence to recognize the municipality’s scan cars. Anyone who receives a message that a scan car is driving down the street has five minutes to pay the parking costs and avoid a fine.

‘Consciously circumvent parking costs’

A spokesperson for the municipality says that the activities of Parking Alarm are contrary to city regulations. “As far as the municipality of Amsterdam is concerned, parking alarm facilitates users to consciously avoid parking costs as much as possible,” said the spokesperson. Paid parking has been introduced, according to the spokesperson, to “make optimal use of the scarce space in Amsterdam and to keep the city accessible”. “By organizing this as well as possible, we ensure efficient use of (parking) space and a liveable city. The proceeds from paid parking are also invested in projects for the city.”

Parking alarm uses dash cams that are linked to a platform that reads video images. The start-up charges 1.49 euros for each warning message received. Until now, the app has been available in Alphen aan den Rijn, Bergen op Zoom, Delft, Diemen, Groningen, Leiden, Rotterdam, Tilburg and Utrecht in addition to Amsterdam.

Many more fines due to scan cars

Since municipalities started using scan cars, the number of parking fines has risen sharply. Inquiries from Het Parool showed that motorists in Amsterdam received additional assessments worth almost 30 million euros in 2018 because no parking fee had been paid. In 2012, the last year before the city introduced the scan car, that was 18.5 million euros. Since the scan car, car users have also opted to pay parking fees more often, because the chances of getting caught are greater.

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