New App Helps Beat the Meter

By Jennifer Millman
|  Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009  |  Updated 9:41 AM EDT
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New App Helps Beat the Meter

http://nycbrokenmeters.com/

This is a must-have for NYC drivers.

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Looking to beat the meter rap? There's an app for that.

City laws allow drivers to park at broken meters for up to an hour without getting ticketed – and a new iPhone application helps motorists determine exactly where those malfunctioning machines are located, according to a published report.

The free app -- appropriately named NYC Broken Meters -- leverages city data to pinpoint broken-meter spots. The city's data was made available through NYC BigApps, a program designed to inspire creative ways to disseminate information.

While some may think the city would be irritated by an app that helps drivers beat the system, the creator of the software says the benefits are two-fold.

"This can be a win-win, because it may help motivate the city to fix broken meters," Raviv Turner, CEO of Guerillaps, told The New York Post. "We hope in a subsequent version to let users upload information about broken meters and report it to the city."

Why drivers would want to tell the city about broken meters remains a mystery, but the new app, which uses the iPhone's navigating system to identify broken meters on a Google-ish map, at least gives them the opportunity.

One of the city's roadside inspection teams, Scout 311, was responsible for initially identifying the broken-meter spots. The group found less than 1,000 broken meters, but at any given time, at least 10 percent of the city's 57,000 meters aren't working, according to the Post.

Want to tap that app? It's still pending approval for sale in the iTunes store, but you can get it at nycbrokenmeters.com. The next version will also include the ability to photograph evidence that you parked at a broken meter if the meter maids give you trouble.

The Department of Transportation didn't return the Post's call for comment.

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