2012-08-10

Co.Exist

Pocket Some Cash From Your Empty Parking Space

Most people aren’t using their cars after they drive them to work. On the flip side, once you drive your car to work, you’re not using your driveway. Park Please lets you turn that unused asset into your own money-making parking lot.

Driveways are next logical step in the evolution of the sharing economy, which lets users share everything from car rides to everyday tasks. Think about it: The spot that’s empty while you’re at work all day is something that people desperate for a parking space might be willing to pay for. ParkatmyHouse, a driveway-sharing site that’s popular in the U.K., recently launched in the eastern U.S. Now it has a competitor in Park Please, a Bay Area-based startup that wants to make the same thing work in San Francisco.

Like ParkatmyHouse, Park Please lets anyone rent out their space to users. Prices of nearby spaces are listed on the map, so it’s easy to gauge what people might be willing to pay.

Park Please’s first big test will be Outside Lands, a three-day music festival in San Francisco that will have 65,000 people passing through every day. There is nowhere to camp out, which means people have to bike, take a festival shuttle, attempt public transportation (unlikely), or duke it out for a parking spot. As you can see in the screenshot above, parking spot prices near the festival are hot commodities. As of Wednesday, 30% of 300 available spaces near the park were already taken, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

The parking industry is understandably concerned. Gill Barnett, the owner of Parking Concepts, a company that manages parking garages, told the Mercury News: "I m a little bit reluctant to trust something like that. How are you going to patrol it? You find your way there and someone’s in the driveway offering cash to the guy you already paid, and he gives your spot away. What do you do?"

But there are real concerns. It’s possible that burglars could use Park Please to figure out when people are least likely to be home. And what if someone using a parking space damages the attached house? There’s no insurance built in to the service.

Still, it makes more sense than building new parking garages. And anything that minimizes fumes from people circling the block looking for a parking spot is fine by us.

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