MonkeyParking: app auctions off parking options

| May 22, 2014

A while ago, just finding a parking spot in a busy area was a reward in itself, but now you can turn that precious parking spot into cash. An app called MonkeyParking, born out of an Italian company, aims to relieve drivers of spending countless hours cruising for parking in San Francisco. MonkeyParking allows its users to auction curb parking that they’re currently parked at, to another driver in need of a spot for some money.

Anyone who’s driving out of a parking spot or is willing to move from the spot can publish the parking space that other drivers can bid on. Users can bid anything between $5 and $20 for a spot. The app aims to curb cruising for parking, save time, and present people with an opportunity to make some money at the same time- all without paying any commission to the company.

But MonkeyParking isn’t the only app out there that gives users bang for their buck. CARMAnation allows users to rent out their private parking spaces for money that can be used to make a profit, or it can be donated to the renter’s choice of local charity.

Another app called SpotOn has access to more than 500 spaces in the San Francisco and enables homeowners and businesses in San Francisco to rent out their driveways, garages and parking lots when not in use. Similarly, Park At My House lets home and business owners in New York, D.C., and Boston rent out their parking spots and driveways.

In an analysis based on parking price and motor vehicle theft, San Francisco was listed by Nerdwallet Finance the as the third worst city to park in.

Can you auction something that isn’t yours?

In 2011, The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) launched the SFPark to balance the supply and demand of parking space through dynamic pricing. The idea behind the project was to prevent cars from circling, make parking available to drivers, and reduce air pollution. In a study entitled Is the Curb 80% or 20% Empty? that evaluated the first two years of the program, SFPark revealed that the initiative cut cruising by 50%.

While MonkeyParking has applied a similar formula, it has been slammed for charging for city-owned property in a way that doesn’t funnel any money into city development projects.

The app is seen to cash in on city’s underpriced public parking of 49 square miles of space and presenting frustrated drivers with an option to find parking relief in lieu of money, some of whom may not be willing or able to pay. This also fuels concerns that it may give birth to a league of space squatters not ready to vacate the space until they find someone willing to pay for the spot.

Paolo Dobrowalny, CEO of the company that founded the app, says, “It’s a fair business for anybody. It’s not just for rich people. If you think you can get that money back when you leave that parking spot, you can earn back the money when you leave the spot.”

While it remains to be seen how the app is received and whether it goes down well with the city officials, CEO Dobrowalny believes they are only playing a facilitator. “We are just providing information when someone is leaving. This is valuable information for everybody,” he says.

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Category: Parking Tech

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