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MonkeyParking halts San Francisco parking auctions after city warning

updated 03:32 pm EDT, Thu July 10, 2014

Parking auction app suspends service before lawsuit threat deadline

MonkeyParking has temporarily halted its service in San Francisco, just one day before a deadline set by the City Attorney. The parking app, which allows drivers to sell their spot to others, was sent a cease-and-desist by the city late last month, with City Attorney Dennis Herrera threatening a lawsuit if it did not cease operations before July 11th.

At the time of the warning, MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny claimed that their parking service was not illegal, suggesting that new services of it's kind "should be regulated and not banned." The point of contention was the effective rental of public parking spaces, rather than the legal sale of private driveways and garage spaces. Accusing the app of creating a "predatory private market," Herrera claimed "We will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit."

In a statement spotted by Ars Technica, MonkeyParking advises its bidding service has been "temporarily disabled in the San Francisco area," and that it is "currently reviewing our service to clarify our value proposition and avoid any future misunderstandings," as well as working to "avoid any possible improper use" of the service in the city. "We want to achieve our mission within the intent and letter of the law and in full cooperation with the local authorities."

If MonkeyParking continued to operate, participants in the parking auctions faced fines of up to $300, with the company receiving a fine of $2,500 per violation.

By Electronista Staff


  1. burger

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-13-00

    "We will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit."

    Isn't that what a parking meter is?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Not exactly. The city maintains the meters and their rates with the expressed interests of the businesses in the area the meters are installed. Folks holding parking spaces hostage will not only drive up costs to potential customers of those businesses, but also result in increased surveillance by city parking officers in order to curtail such activities.
    When you plan a trip to an area with meters, you have some idea of what it will cost (yes, it varies depending on which area, but...) you won't be shaken down for fees or "purchase" prices in excess of the meter price.
    You cannot rent out someone else's house, or charge access fees to national parks without the express permission of the holder of those properties. In this case, the city.
    I thank the city for disallowing fraudulent opportunists from bilking meter users further.

  1. wireboy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-19-01

    The fact that the City of San Francisco asserts anything on the subject of parking meters is nearly farcical. I have driven in cities all over the world and San Francisco's parking has got to be the worst anywhere. It is sometimes near impossible to find a spot and, if you do, you have to deal with their near incomprehensible color scheme that is supposed to indicate times when it is legal/illegal to park. I particularly like the red labeled meters at which parking is forbidden 100% of the time. :)

    The ability to ensure a spot when you have something important to do and avoid the lovely experience of driving around endlessly as your appointment time comes and goes is nothing but a public service. There are likely two things driving San Francisco's position; the fact that they are incapable, as a dumb bureaucracy, of looking at this from the customer service angle and the fact that someone else is making money off of the idea.

    These guys are providing a potentially valuable service to consumers, the buffoons in San Francisco are putting a stop to it and the public is thanking them for it.

    People never cease to amaze me.

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