Parking apps turn driveways into hot property

April 2, 2015

Driveways are a woefully untapped asset — at least that’s what certain parking app creators are betting on, as they launch apps that let users rent out their drives and other car-sized spaces.

Driveway in boston

Image from Bart E.


The idea isn’t new — and in many markets Craigslist may still be the best spot for finding, well, a spot — but these apps are making it easier for drivers to park, and driveway owners to make some cash. Perhaps best of all, these apps might help discourage car ownership, which in turn may help improve the environment and urban quality of life. A few of the highlights:

MonkeyParking: Controversial and once-banned, MonkeyParking, a San Francisco parking space app, is back. “Connecting people looking for parking with driveway-owners at the tap of a button,” MonkeyParking lets users post their driveway information, receive requests for parking, and decide which requests to accept; driveway-landlords make $8 for every time their driveways are rented out, and drivers pay $10 for the space. (In its previous incarnation, last summer, MonkeyParking let users sell city-owned public parking spaces to their highest bidder.)

SPOT: Drivers in Boston, Chicago, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia can search for parking spaces — which include an inventory of private parking spaces — using SPOT. Driveway owners post photos of their spot, offer parking tips, and set their own schedule and rates.

JustPark: Europe’s go-to parking space app, JustPark links drivers to “anyone who has a space going spare, whether in a car park, private driveway, church, school, or pub.” The app lets drivers search, reserve and pay for a space. Space owners list their space for free, and get paid via PayPal or bank transfer.

Spoton Parking: Another smartphone app available for use in parking-scarce San Francisco, connects drivers looking for both on-demand parking and monthly subscription parking with “people that have under-utilized spots.” Spoton sources spots from schools, driveways, churches, and businesses as well as commercial garages and lots.

WhereIPark: In Canada, WhereIPark, another mobile app, Lists available parking spaces — not just parking lot spots, but also spaces available at condos and driveways. It lets individuals rent out their own spaces. Cofounder Alex Enchin tells TechVibes, “Parking has become harder than ever to find, particularly in the downtown cores of major cities including Toronto. There is a huge gap between parking demand and space available, so we decided to create a tool that would fill the need on both sides.”

Drivers benefit from an easier parking experience, while driveway-renters stand to profit. “In Toronto, we are seeing a growing trend of people opting to live car-free,” Jeremy Zuker, cofounder of WhereIPark, tells TechVibes. “If those people have a parking spot, they could rent it for an average of $150 a month which is almost $2,000 a year in extra income. Additionally, people who drive to work and therefore leave their home parking spot open during the day, can rent it out to someone who works nearby and only needs it during the workday.” As CEO of MonkeyParking, Paolo Dobrowolny tells SFGate, driveways are valuable resources that often sit vacant for the majority of the day.

The JustPark app also touts its environmental benefits: “The world’s city streets are clogged with cars. By unlocking hidden off-street parking spaces, our goal is to ensure that every empty patch of tarmac fulfills its parking potential. This maximizes the use of an asset in seriously short supply and helps cities function better,” points out its website.

Other proffered benefits include lowering drivers’ carbon footprints by shortening the length of their circling for parking, and, by maintaining spaces near transport hubs, encouraging users to use public transport, if only for part of their journey.

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Category: Parking Tech

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