How Do I Pay For a Traffic Ticket Online?
Reset Rating: B (11.5/15)
By: Katie Short
You’re leaving work late at night, driving home, and find yourself making the rookie mistake of hopping onto Market only to see those flashing lights in your review mirror signaling that the SFPD is working overtime to enforce the new no-private auto rule.
As the officer begins to write up your traffic ticket, you wonder how you’re ever going to make time to stop by the courthouse to pay the traffic citation. But you don’t have to worry: something less than ten minutes at your computer, plus a credit/debit card, ...plus an additional $5.40, will remedy the situation thanks to the San Francisco Traffic Division's attempt to embrace Government 2.0... You can now pay traffic tickets online.
Accessibility: 1.5 out of 3
The Gov 2.0 service to pay a San Francisco traffic ticket is generally accessible with two notable caveats:
There is no translator feature on any of the pages of the traffic citation payment process. Absolutely none.
And paying your traffic ticket online comes with an inconvenient $5.40 convenience charge. Generally, a convenience charge is something required by a merchant in exchange for offering another method for payment “in addition to standard payment methods.” However, in the vein of the Gov 2.0 movement, using a credit or debit card, should not fall in the category of non-standard forms of payment, and residents using debit or credit cards to pay for traffic tickets online should certainly not be penalized with this additional fee. Paying for a traffic ticket online with a credit card should be considered the standard -- not paying with cash and checks.
This movement for accessibility, being able to use credit and debit cards for government services, being able to complete entire processes online, etc., has its roots in the push for city-wide WiFi (sign our petition!). Everyone should have access to the government and government services from the ease of their home.
Ease of Use: 3 out of 3
The traffic ticket payment service is simple to use -- the relevant links are easy to find and the steps are easy to follow.
Design: 3 of 3
The transition from the “Traffic Division” page to the “Pay Your Traffic or Non-Traffic Citation Online” and the “Pay Your Traffic or Non-Traffic Citation & Administrative Fee for Traffic School Online” pages visually breaks. The ticket payment pages appear to exist on an older version of the SFGov website with an antiquated universal navigation bar (which houses some broken links and one working link for the ‘new’ SFgov.org home page).
That aside, the forms are clearly labeled and the formatting of the pages doesn’t hinder usability.
The Guide: 3 out of 3
There is a link in the very last paragraph at the bottoms of both the “Pay Your Traffic or Non-Traffic Citation Online” and the “Pay Your Traffic or Non-Traffic Citation & Administrative Fee for Traffic School Online” pages for “Frequently Asked Questions.”
There are also links to the “San Francisco Superior Court Traffic School” or “Traffic Division” (P.S. in case you didn’t notice, these links take you to the same place despite being labeled as two different offices), which provide contact information for various offices in the area, which, supposedly, can help with paying traffic tickets online.
User Feedback: 1 out of 3
There is no feedback mechanism for the traffic ticket payment service aside from calling the listed number on the “Traffic Division” site and providing commentary over the phone. Not ideal for a Gov 2.0 service...
Start at SFgov.org and choose “Online Services” from the top navigation bar. From the “Online Services” page, select “Traffic Citation Payment” from the “Payment Services” section. You’ll be taken to the County of San Francisco Superior Court of California Traffic Division page. From here, you will need to select either “Pay Your Traffic or Non-Traffic Citation Online” or the “Pay Your Traffic or Non-Traffic Citation & Administrative Fee for Traffic School Online” before proceeding. The next screen for either option is quite similar: for either service, you’ll need to enter the traffic citation number to proceed.