iPhone App Helps Clean Up Local Community

Mira Mesa Residents Using CartSnap App To Reduce Shopping Carts On Streets

Some Mira Mesa residents are using an iPhone application to reduce the amount of shopping carts littering their streets.

The Mira Mesa Town Council is flooded with complaints about carts found around the community. They are concerned about carts found along the streets, not the ones in store parking lots.

"Under the rules right now, a store has three business days from the time they are notified from the location of a cart to pick it up," said Bari Vaz of the Mira Mesa Town Council.

Several Mira Mesa residents are now using CartSnap, a free iPhone application. This is how the app works: if a user sees a shopping cart that's on the street, they can take a picture of it. The picture and GPS coordinates are sent to a server where a cart collector gets the information to pick it up.

Pam Stevens said she started using the app more than a week ago.

"It's an annoyance factor," she said. "It's a problem that people don't think about and then all of a sudden it's there. It just adds to one of the stresses to living in a community."

The app became available in mid-February. More than 300 photos have already been uploaded. So far, 24 users have signed up in Mira Mesa. The app creators said the goal is to make that data more readily available for the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation, which is responsible for picking them up.

"Rather than have a cart sit around for two or three weeks, this is something that they can participate in and hopefully get that thing off the street within 48 to 72 hours," said Ron Jimenez, a co-owner of CartSnap Enterprises LLC.

The Mira Mesa Town Council said they are already seeing a difference. Before the app, it may have taken up to five days to remove a shopping cart. Now, Vaz said the carts are gone within in one to two days. She's now posting fliers around the community to encourage more people to do their part.

"This is the power of the community. We can take care of this problem and here is an answer for us," said Vaz

CartSnap has plans to expand their services to Blackberry and Android devices in the future.

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