Every driver is familiar with the situation of driving a million blocks before a reasonbale parking spot pops up. Not a very ideal activity to spent your valuable time on. In this digital age, maybe an online service could be the solution. Started in Britain, ParkatmyHouse is now the world’s largest online parking marketplace.
It allows people to rent out their private parking spaces and therefore aims to increase the supply of affordable parking. The concept is similar to the online lodging service Airbnb, except you’re renting parking spaces instead of a room.
Anthony Eskinazi, ParkatmyHouse’s founder and chief executive, said in telephone interview to The New York Times that his company had been operating since 2006 in Britain, where it claims roughly 150,000 registered users and an inventory of some 40,000 parking spaces. Mr. Eskinazi describes the service a “matchmaker” between drivers and parking spaces. In addition, it fits the idea of a “sharing economy” where everyone doesn’t have to own a spot, product or service, but can share them with the rest of the world.
How does it work? Listing a parking space is free, but owners pay a fee to the site, which manages the booking and payment process, when their space is successfully rented out. If you want find a spot to rent, whether for a day, a week or on a regular basis, you type in the relevant zip code to find available spots. You can rent short-term or long-term, depending on your needs and what’s available. You must register on the site and can ask for more details about the property from the owner before committing. The site provides a contract for you to download. Renters can pay for their space using a credit or debit card or PayPal. ParkatmyHouse makes a 15 percent commission on each transaction.
A service like this is, just like the re-use of the phone booths, a great example of smart use of available space these days and in the future. Besides, for owners of parking spots and drivers it is a financial win-win situation.