Italian MonkeyParking mobile app provides a new way to incentivize drivers to free up their parking spaces.
San Francisco is a 7 by 7 mile square piece of land that hosts more than 800,000 people – needless to say space is very hard to come by. Apartment hunting can be a real undertaking, while finding parking space is equally frustrating. Italy-based startup MonkeyParking has created an app to help San Franciscans make the best of a bad situation, namely by allowing people to get paid when they leave a parking spot.
Basically, any driver with a car occupying a parking space can offer up a starting bid for their spot on the MonkeyParking app, then desperate drivers circling the vicinity can offer up their bids. Once the occupier accepts a bid they’re happy with, the winning bidder receives the exact parking location, and MonkeyParking pockets a percentage of the transaction.
For obvious reasons, the City Attorney is putting the business model under investigation for their treatment of public space. Public reaction hasn’t exactly been positive either:
The company claims that it has previously tested other models, such as a game-model where users receive banana points in return for leaving a parking spot, but found that money is simply the best incentive – plus, they are merely providing valuable information to the public:
As for fears that the app tips the scales to those who can actually afford to drop $20 for a parking spot, Chief Executive Paolo Dobrowolny replied:
It’s a fair business for anybody, it’s not just for rich people. You can earn back the money when you leave the spot.
Still, are we ready to pay some parking squatters/scalpers out to make a buck on what should be free already? We’ll see what the future holds.