Find or Rent an Open Parking Space With the ‘Spot’ App
For paying pesky Boston parking tickets, there’s the mobile app TicketZen. As for finding parking spots in order to avoid those tickets? The options are fairly limited.
That’s where “Spot,” an app that connects parking spot owners with drivers looking to find a space—whether for long-term use or just a few hours—comes in.
In a 10-second pitch from Spot’s creator, Braden Golub, explained that it’s “the Airbnb of the parking industry,” and certainly, based on recent parking woes, something the city could definitely use. “The way it works is, if you have a spot you’re renting out behind your building, like I do—I’m only there 30 to 40 percent of the time—you can rent those out to people coming into the city for dinner, or people looking for a monthly spot,” said Golub, who has plans to officially launch the mobile app by this summer. “I’m letting those private spots become available to the public.”
Golub came up with the idea for Spot after finding himself running back and forth out of his apartment building in the Back Bay every time his girlfriend slept over, to either move her vehicle or feed the meter. While dashing between his house and her car, he realized there was a plethora of empty spots lining the backside of his apartment building, left vacant by residents that were either gone for the day or didn’t use their parking spaces. “I just decided I wanted to figure out a way to use those spots,” he said. “Airbnb is revolutionary, and the idea that you can share something that’s yours, and make a business out of it, is amazing.”
He said he realized there was a market for an app like this when he noticed what’s out there now is limited to helping drivers find empty parking spaces in garages.
The app, which uses a credit card payment system to process a request between the renter and the space owner, has been in development for six months. Golub said he has been working with a team that consists of three software designers and architects, and three other coders. When a transaction is made—Golub’s aiming to get that process down to 30 seconds on the app—Spot will pocket 10 to 15 percent of the profit, and the rest will go to the space owner.
Those offering up a slab of concrete can set the price, length of stay, and other conditions. Those renting can then pick between available spots based on how long they need it for. “People looking for a spot can find a place with ease. It’s a clean concept. Boston is the perfect city to launch this,” he said.
Coincidentally, City Councilor Tito Jackson recently filed a request at City Hall to figure out ways the city could adapt its own app that would help drivers find empty metered spots and pay for parking by phone, rather than fumble for coins. Jackson has been talking about that particular endeavor for the last two years.
Similarly, in December 2013, the city launched a new system specifically for the Innovation District that helps motorists find a spot for their car. The app, which relies on a ping that sends alerts to users’ phones via sensors strapped to the meters, was led by the city’s Transportation Department with support from the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.
For now, people can sign up for more information about Spot as developments continue over the next five to six weeks.