It always feels good to get the close parking spot.

What if someone was willing to pay you $5 to sit in that coveted parking spot and hold it for them? Is it worth your time?

If so, this is the app for you.

monkey parking

The app opens up a market for the sale of free parking spots (Image source: MonkeyParking).

The application is called MonkeyParking, and it could be just the thing that keeps you sane when you are running late and really need a parking spot. It’s in a testing phase now in San Francisco — users can search for parking in a busy part of the city, or list the spot they currently occupy to sell it to an incoming driver.

When push comes to shove, how much would you pay another driver to give up their spot?

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The users can pick how much they would pay for parking (Image Source: MonkeyParking).

The app is latest addition to the “sharing economy” where companies like Uber and AirBnB have given individuals a way to monetize their cars and empty rooms in their homes that might otherwise go unused. But this is taking that concept to another level. It’s comparable to paying someone to wait in line for you.

“Whether the app will have any effect or even pass muster with the law is almost beside the point,” Aaron Bialick said on Streets Blog. “MonkeyParking is a great illustration of how free or underpriced curb parking in (the city) is completely absurd. If the city isn’t willing to put a rational price on a limited resource in high demand, profiteering drivers can and will step in to take advantage.”

‘Take advantage’ might be strong language — creating a market where none currently exists is another way to look at it; we see it all the time. Bottled water was considered a joke at one point — now it’s a staple in most parts of the country.

As creative as the application seems, it may also create another problem for drivers.

“(The app) isn’t a fix for the problem — it’s a way for people of means to try and circumvent it or cash in on it,” Bialick said. “You’ll end up with space squatters.”

So what do you think? Is this an example of a ridiculous idea, or just a creative solution to an annoying problem?


(H/T: Wired)

Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.

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