A new parking app that lets users seek out unused spaces around the Boston area, so they can rent them hourly, daily, or even monthly, officially launched on Thursday, and the founders of the innovative smartphone technology are already eyeing an expansion to other major cities across the country.
The SPOT app, which Boston first wrote about in March, when it was still in the planning stages, is described by the company’s CEO, Braden Golub, as the “airbnb of the parking industry,” due to its ability to connect residents in Brookline, Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville instantly with drivers scrambling to find a place to park their vehicles.
“In today’s exploding sharing-based economy, companies like Uber and airbnb are proving that there is a tremendous market in peer-to-peer transactions—we’re just aggregating a city’s private parking spot inventory and making it readily accessible,” said Golub, who recently secured advisors to help guide the company’s direction.
Golub, a Back Bay resident, first came up with the idea for SPOT after getting frustrated that he could never find a public parking space for his fiance when she visited.
SPOT works by connecting a person looking to rent a parking space with a private space-owner. Users plug in their credit card information the first time they use the app, so it’s stored for future transactions. Those renting out their personal spaces will receive payments for their spots through Paypal, Venmo, or direct deposit, once a deal is reached between the two parties. SPOT then pockets a small percentage of the sale for making the connection happen.
“People looking for a spot can find a place with ease. It’s a clean concept. Boston is the perfect city to launch this,” Golub told Boston in a previous interview.
Golub said the company is now looking to expand their operations to Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco sometime in 2015.
Prior to the official Boston launch this week, SPOT was in beta mode for five months, and offered the app to a limited user base. According to data based on 6,000 users, which was provided to Boston by Golub, people primarily used the app’s services in the Back Bay and Brookline. Golub believes this is the case in Brookline because of parking restrictions in the town that prevent visitors from leaving a vehicle on the streets overnight and in certain neighborhoods. He said in Back Bay, people are likely looking for temporary spots to go shopping, or to make use of unused back-alley parking.
Below is a breakdown of other statistics compiled by the SPOT team, which give a snapshot of where people are looking to park their cars.
Back Bay: 27%
South End: 17%
South Boston: 8%
Outlying Areas (places like Commuter T stations): 3%
Golub and his team also tracked down the average prices that parking spaces are going for using the app. The most expensive monthly parking is in South Boston, with people selling off spots for around $340. Hourly parking was at its highest in the South End, a notoriously difficult place to find a short-term place to park a vehicle, at $3.75. As for securing a space for an entire day, Golub said people are paying upwards of $16.20 in the Back Bay. Here’s the breakdown:
Allston/Brighton: $1.75/hour, $6.25/day, $145/month
Brookline: $1.75/hour, $9.50/day, $185/month
Back Bay: $3.75/hour, $16.20/day, $315/month
South End: $3.15/hour, $14.40/day, $265/month
Fenway: $2.75 hour, $13.30/day, $250/month
Cambridge: $2.10/hour, $10.25/day, $220/month
South Boston: $2.90/hour, $8.75/day, $340/month
Lastly, Golub scoured the data based on the limited user base before this week’s rollout to determine where actual spots are available. In this particular data set, SPOT determined that most of the open spaces are in Brookline, with 22% of users offering up an available spot through the app in that area. Coming in second was the Back Bay, where residents are known to have apartments that come with parking options, but no cars to put there.
Back Bay: 19%
South End: 17%
South Boston: 5%
Outlying Areas: 2%
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2014/12/11/spot-parking-app-launches-in-boston/
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