Sort of like an Uber for parked cars

I mentioned it in passing the other day, but deserves its own special treatment.

It was founded in 2006, and I first became aware of it in 2015 while planning and organizing a movie-production tour of England. There would be two cars and six people (plus sixteen tons of gear) for 10 days, moving around like crazy.

In most places that weren’t London, parking a car was usually fairly easy. There was either room near the church or whatever ancient ruin we were filming, or we paid normal fees to park in a designated lot. But London, where we would spend two days, was a challenge and a half.

The apartment I’d found to house us did not come with parking. And I wasn’t looking forward to paying $100/car/day to park in a lot, of which there were roughly none anyway near our place. And we couldn’t leave the cars out of town and take the tube to the apartment (believe me, I looked into that option) because we just had too much stuff to carry and besides, parking in Croydon or even Heathrow would still cost us a fortune.

I refused to relent and kept looking. Furious googling sometimes pays off, and it did this time, when I found JustPark. I put in my dates and the address we’d be in, and it showed me a list of available spots nearby, in normal people’s driveways, on a map along with the various prices people were demanding to claim their space as mine for two days.

I picked two that worked for me and booked them. I had to print out a sheet of paper with a reference number so the person whose space it was knew this was indeed my car in their driveway – which also ensured nobody would get us towed. Then find the spot, and park there on the dates and times we’d agreed on.

Ha! It was much less expensive than a parking lot and I liked that we could make use of existing space instead of contributing to demand for more parking lots to be built.

So when, later in the same movie-production saga, we needed a space to park near the Capitol building in Washington, guess what I did. Yes! Went straight to the same app and found the perfect spot.

I’ve used the service a few more times after that, mostly in the UK. I keep looking for something similar in Ottawa and not finding it. We don’t have parking issues here like they do in London or Capitol Hill, but if we’re hoping to make downtown more walkable and human-friendly we shouldn’t have too many easy parking spots there anyway. Why not use technology to fill the space we do have for the temporary storage of metal mass and cut down on prime real estate devoted to parking lots and garages?




Writer | Ottawa. Books include Épître aux tartempions, Le national-syndicalisme, Down the Road Never Travelled, Not Just for Kicks and Le livre Uber.

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Brigitte Pellerin

Brigitte Pellerin

Writer | Ottawa. Books include Épître aux tartempions, Le national-syndicalisme, Down the Road Never Travelled, Not Just for Kicks and Le livre Uber.

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