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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Mobile App Allows People to Rent Their Parking Spaces

Mobile app SPOT lets owners rent out parking spaces. 

Mobile app SPOT lets owners rent out parking spaces. 

Living in a big city like Boston can be difficult—especially when you have a car. Everyone knows the struggle of never finding street parking in the city or busy neighborhoods. However, a new app might provide a solution for this problem with a different approach.
People who own parking spots but only use them occasionally or not at all can now rent them out to car drivers who have trouble finding parking spaces.
SPOT, which is based right here in Boston, was launched only recently in December 2014, and has already become quite popular with more than 10,000 users.
The idea was developed by Cincinnati native Braden Golub, who has lived in Boston for more than seven years. He said that he came to develop this idea after a frustrating experience of looking for parking spots.
He recalled that he was walking back to his apartment in the South End after feeding his fiancée’s meter because she had parked on the street. In the alley behind his building, there were over a dozen empty spots that belonged to tenants who were away during the workday or didn’t have cars, and he thought to himself, “I would pay that person whatever they’re asking to be able to just park her car here and not have to go move her car and feed the meter every two hours.” 
This moment sparked interest in Golub, and he started doing research and looked into the law. He found that it was indeed possible and legal to rent out private parking spots.
Afterward, he and a development team worked eight months on developing a mobile app that would offer a new way to look for parking. So far, the app has been in strong use with 18- to 36-year-olds and has had a mostly positive response in general.
According to Golub, “students are the largest use cases.” Students living near campus can rent out their parking spaces to commuter students who are heading to campus a couple of times a week for class, or rent them out during big sporting events or graduations.
Since the app is GPS based, it searches automatically for free spots near your current location, and then shows details like the rate and time availability. It is possible to rent a parking spot on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
SPOT is cheaper than parking garages. Although the owners can decide on the price by themselves, the app recommends that it should be 40 to 60 percent lower than at nearby garages. That means that users would pay, as an example, only between $1.25 and $2 per hour to park in Dorchester, $0.70 to $1.75 in Brighton, and $2.25 to $4 in Back Bay. The SPOT team is  currently working on developing an insurance program to cover owners and renters if any damages or issues occur. It is also possible to report suspicious or “bad” renters and owners and have them suspended from using the app any further.
So far, the app can only be used in the Boston area, but Golub says he plans on expanding its territory, targeting major cities in the very near future.
“We feel strongly that this app’s ideal user base is college students and young professionals looking to simplify their commuting experience,” as its creator Braden Golub points out.
If you’d like to know more about this app, go to http://www.parkeasier.com/ to find all the information and download it (only for iPhones and selected Android devices).