New valet apps take away stress of parking in San Francisco

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
New valet apps take away stress of parking in San Francisco
Parking in San Francisco can be a hassle, but new valet apps are proving to make the act less stressful for drivers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Parking in San Francisco can sometimes cause headaches, but there is a new solution for drivers.

Whether you are headed to work in the Financial District, to dinner in the Mission or shopping in Union Square, parking is problem for most people in the city. Many people don't know this yet, buy you can have someone else park your car for just $5.

Alyssa Barker says parking in San Francisco with a toddler can be painful. She told 7 On Your Side, "It really sucks. We had to walk 10 minutes just to get from the parking garage to here and with a toddler it's not exactly easy."

In some parts of the city there are valets on demand. In the last year, Luxe Valet and Zirx have both launched in San Francisco.

Curtis Lee is the CEO for Luxe. He said, "Luxe is basically a new way to park. Instead of going through the haggles of trying to find parking on the streets, you let us know through our app and select the location and we will send a valet to come park your car."

Nicole Stanley Polizzi lives in San Francisco and uses Luxe Valet regularly to commute to work with her puppy.

"It's just easier using a door-to-door service, just finding parking, getting his toys out his cage, getting it into the office, it's just super convenient to pull right up," she said. "They're always just standing right here."

Polizzi finds it saves her money too.

"What we do is find under-utilized parking spaces and we rent those and we pass the savings on to the customer," Lee said.

Luxe Valet charges $5 an hour and it maxes out at $15 for the entire day.

Zirx charges a flat fee of $15, as long as you retrieve your car before they close. Many of their customers find the service cheaper than paying to park.

Ryan Courrier lives in the East Bay. He said, "One day I drove in, it was a World Series game day with the Giants and every parking lot was like $60 and Zirx was still $15."

7 On Your Side tried out both services in the Mission, in Union Square, in the Financial District and South of Market.

It's simple, users type in the location where they are headed. The company then tracks their location and the valet is waiting for their arrival. When drivers are ready to have the car returned, they simply request it on their smartphone. Credit cards are stored in the app and tips are included in the fee, so there's no money exchanged directly with the valet.

Both companies carry $2 million in insurance, in case anything happens while they have your car.

Sean Behr is the CEO of Zirx. He told 7 On Your Side, "The people who park our cars, we do a seven year background check on them. That includes a national, state and local background check. We also do DMV check for points and violations," Behr said.

Both companies require their drivers to pass a driving test.

"But beyond that, within the app, you can see a picture of them so that you know that is actually them," Lee said.

For an extra fee, both companies offer to fill up your gas tank and wash your car.