San Francisco’s CurbTxt Service Brings Out the Good Samaritan in People

Finding a parking on the streets of San Francisco is more often than not considered a Herculean feat. But three innovative entrepreneurs from the city have come up with a way for people to contact vehicle owners for reasons such as helping them avoid fines or calling them out on blocking driveways. Enter CurbTxt, a service that allows San Franciscans to register their license plates and phones numbers so people can contact them anonymously through text messaging, according to CNET.

.flickr.com/photos/migulski

.flickr.com/photos/migulski

Another feature on ABC7’s News lets us in on more info. After registering on the website, a little round sticker with a graphic “C-txt” is placed next to the car’s license plate and this lets other people know that a driver is part of the CurbTxt network. A person can simply punch in the license plate on his cell phone and CurbTxt’s service will forward the message to the owner. There is no app to download, at least none yet, and messaging is done through any mobile phone, old models or high tech ones. The sticker is being given away for free too, and is available for pick up in coffee shops and other locations.

The history of parking in San Francisco is not very pretty. Both amateur and veteran drivers alike can get nasty notes stuck to their windshields, courtesy of individuals who might have been vexed by their parking skills. But CurbTxt could make the situation better and actually bring out the best in people. Concerned neighbors can message other drivers that they did not curb their vehicle or they left their lights on or their meter has run out. While the service is prone to pranksters, users can report abusers and they will be blocked from the system.

The CurbTxt founders have talked to people in the city’s board of supervisors about getting support for the project. But while the service is getting around through flyers and word-of-mouth which isn’t much, the steady increase in registered users and the dozens of messages sent since it launched last fall show the possibility of the system gaining wider reach in San Francisco.