If you've ever tried finding parking in Boston, then you know what a nightmare it is. But what about all those seemingly free private spaces everywhere? you've maybe wondered to yourself. Well, so did Braden Golub, who eventually grew so tired of the headache he faced every morning that he developed the new app Spot, an Airbnb-like service for parking spaces, which just beta-launched in Boston with plans to expand to several more cities soon.
The ingenious new system will work very similarly to the incredibly popular home-sharing site, with the owners of empty spots listing their availability and hourly, daily, or monthly rate. Renters who want to book a spot can do so on-demand with a credit card via an app, and that money gets sent to the rentee via Venmo, PayPal, direct deposit, or even a physical check. "We want to allow each person to 'win', if you will," Golub told us last week of the exchange setup. And if early user feedback is any indication, people feel like they are. Although he declined to give us hard numbers, he confirmed that the response within just the first week was incredibly positive.
Naturally, the service will evolve as it brings in more users, and the team is working on ways to make sure its listed spaces are authenticated (protecting against people with no authority to rent a particular private space making money off of it), and dealing with abusers who park for far longer than they agreed to. However, Golub feels the opportunities for expansion are boundless. "I could see this working on a college campus on game-day. A guy with some extra space in his driveway wanting to make a few bucks."
And while it will only be operational in Boston for now, there are plans to eventually expand to four other cities whose infrastructure and glut of on-street or back-alley parking spots would support an inventory of open spaces (beyond those in garages): Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. Get ready to say goodbye to parking tickets, people.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He is so ready to stick it to those predatory meter maids and overpriced city parking lots.