Parking space for rent
Now here’s a sure fire money maker for those with a parking spot to spare either downtown or near to a popular entertainment venue.
People living in the neighbourhood of Pacific National Exhibition h ave illicitly rented out parking spots on their private property for many years much to the chagrin of city hall.
Now a U.K.-based company called Parkatmyhouse.com (www.parkatmyhouse.co.uk) is offering an online booking service and inviting people worldwide to register their spaces. The company collects the money and mails out the rent cheque, less a 15-per-cent commission.
In most of Britain’s cities, parking near railway stations, hospitals, airports, sporting and music events or tourist attractions can be costly — not any different from here really.
A young entrepreneur called Anthony Eskinazi dreamed up the idea for the service during a fruitless search for parking close to the AT&T stadium, while in San Francisco.
When he saw an empty driveway a stone’s throw away from the stadium, he figured there was an opportunity for both homeowners and drivers if there was a way of making the contact.
After he returned to the U.K. in June 2006, he launched the site and now tens of thousands are renting spaces.
It’s not just a money-making opportunity.
The company’s literature argues the scheme scores many green and safety points.
Eskinazi claims his service cuts down the amount of carbon emitted by vehicles roaming neighbourhoods in search of a parking space.
The service, he reasons, is intended to discourage street parking and thus free road space for public transport, as well as make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. It also ensures there’s a constant turnover of parking spaces close to stores for short-term parking which, Eskinazi says, stimulates local business.
Some renters go that extra mile by providing a personal meet-and-greet service, free transfers to and from airports or a cup of tea/coffee upon a return home from a vacation. One testimonial online demonstrated the willingness of many to provide a little extra. Susan Omar, a mother of five, claims she has made more almost $3,000 in the past year or so by renting out six spaces on her driveway, situated five minutes from Bournemouth airport. She even looks after their valuables and pets.
Parkatmyhouse would like to break into Canada.
However, it doesn’t seem as though anybody has been prepared yet to take on municipal governments over bylaws that rule against such neighbourhood services, without business licences that are likely unobtainable if formally applied for.
Nevertheless, it’s doubtful the same controls could be easily extended to parking spots beneath or beside apartment blocks. People already cut deals to rent out their unused spaces in such lots.
It is an idea that certainly wouldn’t get an easy ride with local authorities. And the parking lot industry would doubtless see it as a potential threat to its members’ revenue.
Frankly, I don’t find it easy to show much sympathy for them of late.
It seems every night I go downtown, extortionate ‘event parking’ fees are in place and during the Olympics some sullied their reps with some horrible examples of gouging.
Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun