Website acts as SF parking broker

July 15, 2008 3:56:08 PM PDT
For people who drive in San Francisco, finding a parking spot is always a challenge - one that a new website being launched on Tuesday hopes to help you tackle by connecting people who have spaces with people who want them.

The website is www.gottapark.com and its being described as a broker for parking spaces. If you have a space in driveway or in a lot you can set up an account, set your own price and post it. If you are looking for a spot, you can login and reserve for an hour or two, or for a full day. Just type in an address date and time, and up comes a map with what's available.

"Driving around and around and around," said one driver.

The site makes its money by charging 15 percent of the price.

Just like Craigslist or eBay, there is a level of trust expected between the parties. The site may come up with a rating system in the future to help with that.

But with gottapark you might be walking around and around. ABC7 News put the new parking website to the test, and started on Front Street.

The closest parking listing was almost a mile and a half away. The two parking lots across the street were not listed.

ABC7 News also tested to find parking on Fisherman's Wharf, and the closest listing there was also over a mile away, and it cost $50 for five hours of parking.

"Depending on where you look in the city, there is more likelihood to find spaces in other parts," said John Somoza, Gottapark.com.

For a look at a more residential neighborhood, ABC7 News checked on the Richmond in the corner of Guerrero and 24th. The closest parking listed there was 1.41 miles away, and it costs $20.

"It could be a little complicated," said another driver.

There is another online option available locally called Parking Carma. It's a wireless guidance system that gives you real time information on parking, with electronic sensors.

"That requires a lot of infrastructure. That would be a lot more suitable to really corporate garages. As far as individual, small parking lots, I don't see any comparable to ours," said Somoza.

The city is also about to launch its own parking service called SF Park. It's a wireless sensor network that lets you know what is available and set prices based on demand. That will start in September.


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