Technological Breakthrough Allows Pakistani Traffic Police To Collect Automobile Fine Via Smartphones
In 2008, the city of Montreal took a radical step and introduced a ‘Parking App’. Traditionally the parking meters require the drivers to put coins in them which then displays the duration for which the car could be parked at the specific spot. This system was a relic from the turn of the 20th century and while it had served its purpose it was outdated to say the least and cumbersome to say the best. Not many people have coins nowadays and once parked, the driver has to come back every hour or half an hour to insert more coins in the slot.
The ‘Parking App’ took care of all of that. The driver opens the Parking app and enters the spot number on their phone. The city of Montreal takes the payment via credit card and updates it automatically on the Traffic Warden’s device. If you want to prolong your parking duration just tap the app and add minutes. No need to run to your car like old times.
This smartphone led revolution was the tipping point for technological evolution in civic services provisions and within months municipalities over Europe, North America and Asia were implementing traffic solutions using the smartphones and the apps.
The Western World and the developed countries of East Asia have been using credit cards. debit cards and electronic payment systems for quite some time now. So it was not very difficult for them to integrate the payment options to the mobile apps. Pakistan however has a very low electronic payment penetration and in order to implement any citizen service using electronic payment procedures and smartphones quite a bit of ambition would have been required.
We therefore take our hats off to Islamabad police who have implemented an ambitious plan to allow the offenders to pay their fines using smartphones without ever presenting themselves physically at the payment center. The process is very simple. Islamabad Police has developed an app in collaboration with UFone and the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).
When a traffic violation is committed, the offender will receive a message, intimating them to the details of the violation and the amount of fine. A copy of the message will be forwarded to the NBP database and a separate copy will be saved in the Islamabad Police database for record-keeping. The violator will then have the option to click on the app developed by UFone, NBP and Islamabad Traffic Police and use the electronic payment services to pay their fine.
Payment through mobile devices is the hottest topic of research and development these days in the Silicon valley and world’s top 2 cell phone manufacturers Apple and Samsung have started selling phones which come preloaded with their proprietary payment systems. According to Forbes, the world top 100 banking institutions all have a payment app and more than 500 municipalities around the world are using cellphones in order to receive payments for their services, for their bills or for their fines.
It is therefore a matter of national pride because by implementing this plan Islamabad Traffic Police has initiated a process which would push more and more government services and private institutions to use electronic payment methods and would be beneficial to the country’s economy.