updated 09:56 am EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
Public parking space resale apps come under fire from San Francisco City Attorney
San Francisco is taking a stance against apps that provide paid street parking services. City Attorney Dennis Herrera has sent a cease-and-desist notice to MonkeyParking, an app which allows drivers to sell their parking space to other motorists, which Herrera believes is an illegal practice that could land participants in parking auctions a fine of $300, and the company itself a fine of $2,500 per violation.
"It creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate," writes Herrera in a press release. "Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely - to engage in online bidding wars while driving." Pointing out that the rental of privately-owned driveways and garage spaces is legal, Herrera goes on to state "We will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit."
Two other apps are also in the firing line, according to Herrera. Sweetch charges $5 for a parking spot in a similar manner, with the driver passing their spot on receiving $4. ParkModo, set to launch in the near future, will apparently employ other drivers to occupy parking spaces in the Mission District, with spaces then sold through a mobile app.
MonkeyParking's CEO, Paolo Dobrowolny, told Ars Technica "As a general principle we believe that a new company providing value to people should be regulated and not banned. This applies also to companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft that are continuously facing difficulties when delivering something that makes user happy. Regulation is fundamental in driving innovation, while banning is just stopping it."
Herrera has given MonkeyParking until July 11th to cease operating before he launches the lawsuit.