Efficiency at Ticketing May Disrupt Natural Balance


If you’re wondering why legislators are now and then suddenly very concerned about catching people who speed, run red lights (just barely), or drive without insurance, Dan McGowan and Susan Campbell of WPRI give a hint as to the origin of their urgency:

Conduent earns $2,978 per month for each camera [in Providence] and $7.50 per [speeding] violation processed, meaning it was set up to make more than $100,000 during the first month of the program. The Maryland company, a subsidiary of a New Jersey-based corporation that was formerly a division of Xerox, also receives a $3.50 convenience fee every time a violator uses their credit card to pay a ticket.

Hey, keeping us all in line is always profitable for somebody.  In this case, it’s also proving wildly profitable for the city:

A total of 12,193 tickets were generated from five speed cameras between Jan. 16 and Feb 22, with nearly all of the tickets coming from three locations: Mount Pleasant Avenue, Charles Street and Thurbers Avenue. (The cameras are not in use on Sundays.)

At $95 per ticket, that means violators were charged $1.15 million in just over one month. The city had already received $370,000 as of Feb. 22, records show. Six additional cameras will be deployed in various neighborhoods next week.

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Of course, while that’s 12,193 reminders to slow down, it’s also 12,193 reasons to think twice before driving through Providence at all.

Sometimes inefficiencies create a natural balance.  In its efficiency at charging people for driving violations, Providence may be preparing to teach us something about the costs of disturbing that balance when it comes to driving 11 miles per hour over the speed limit.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    How soon before speed limits are lowered to create more “violators”? Seems like a way to increase “revenues”, so easy it will be impossible to resist.

  • Northern Exposure

    Simple solution for me…just don’t go into Providence. It’s easier than they may think.

  • oceanstater

    Is there some kind of constitutional right to speed in school zones? Why not just slow down a bit there during school commute hours? Road accidents are up sharply, why make fun of safety measures?