If you live in a city, you know how precious good parking spaces are. A parking spot in the area that you want to park in is a rare thing. Most people wind up parking many blocks away from an actual destination, and walking those blocks in the sun, rain, sleet, or snow. Now that smartphones are here, there’s a better way to find a great parking spot.
A new app for iPhone called Parking Auction will help beta testers in New York City find parking spots. This app is available through the Apple App Store for select individuals (at the time of this writing). App developers do hope that the app will take off, and that it will become available for all iPhone users in the near future.
The Parking Auction Deal
If you currently have a parking spot in NYC (and you are one of the app’s beta testers), you can alert those who are using the Parking Auction app of this available parking spot. Of course, you must be willing to move when the person who has paid for the spot arrives – that’s right, a user must pay for a parking spot in order to park.
This is not to say that you can sell parking spots. Instead, what you would be selling is the information that a parking spot is available. This information can go for any amount of money, but the developers of this app assume that people will pay a pretty penny for a good spot. Of course, some of this money goes to Parking Auction, but you’ll be able to pocket some of it too.
Parking Auction Rules
There are some rules associated with this app. One of the rules that’s clearly stated is that you must give up a parking spot if someone other than a buyer wants to park. So, for example, let’s say that you are selling your great parking spot to another Parking Auction user. Before that user arrives, someone else pulls up behind you and waits for your spot. You must move your car, so that they person waiting can park there.
What happens to your fee? It goes out the window. When a parking lot has been successfully exchanged, both parties acknowledge this exchange, and then a payment will go through. If the exchange does not work, nobody gets paid (including Parking Auction).
Since I’m not a Parking Auction beta tester, I can’t comment from a personal point of view. But, I can imagine that a Parking Auction scenario may get ugly. Right now, the app is being tested in Manhattan’s posh Upper West Side neighborhood where people can exchange spots happily. However, this may not be the case in, say, East Los Angeles where people might try to stock up on spots in order to make some cash.
Sure, Parking Auction encourages people to give up a spot to others who are waiting, but this is not a likely scenario.
Instead, people are more apt to avoid getting into a car, or starting a car, until the person buying a spot has arrived. This way, the possibility of another person waiting for a spot won’t exist. I imagine that there are benefits to this app too (it’s nice to give your spot to a good neighbor in need), but, unfortunately, the world isn’t a loving and giving place most of the time.