In cities where traffic is heavy and public transportation is lacking (read: San Francisco), the commute experience can be nothing short of a nightmare — and an expensive one at that. Parking Panda, which lists rentable parking spaces in a given city, hopes to ameliorate drivers’ stress through its new mobile app, which lists local parking garages and daily rates.
Parking Panda was introduced in April, and its mobile app for iOS went live last week. It allows for quick searches for daily and monthly parking in proximity to your destination address. It is operational in Baltimore, San Francisco, Philadelphia and D.C.
CEO Nick Miller says that people put a lot of planning into their evenings, but parking is always an afterthought. “You plan the rest of your life. You buy concert tickets and make dinner reservations, but parking is always an unknown,” he says.
Parking Panda was initially the AirBnB for parking spots, allowing homeowners to share their otherwise unused spaces and make extra cash by renting them for a set period of time — a popular feature in areas where parking garages aren’t nearby. Parking Panda takes a 20% cut of each transaction.
“We’re combining commercial with the peer-to-peer side of things to meet every use case,” Miller says.
In the four cities where Parking Panda is available, the app only lists reservable spots in garages with which the company has made deals, excluding other public lots. That means users may miss other parking spots that are cheaper or are closer in distance to a final destination — $30 for four hours one mile away from the office is still inconvenient — but Miller argues the benefits of a guaranteed spot outweigh those other factors.
Most users of the mobile app are in San Francisco, Miller says, and so the lack of price comparison is something to note. But in cities where the app isn’t live, users can still look up general parking structures, but cannot reserve spots. “For right now, we can show data on where all garages are and how much they cost so we can provide some value to everyone,” Miller says.
Parking Panda has plans to expand to more cities, including Los Angeles and Austin, and will also develop a mobile app for Android.
Parking Panda recently partnered with the Baltimore Grand Prix to offer guaranteed spots to attendees who used the app to reserve a parking in advance. For now, the most useful feature of Parking Panda is the option to reserve ahead of time spots for big events, like concerts or sporting events.
Miller anticipates more of these deals in the future, cutting down the amount of time you have to arrive before a show and the hours you could spend trying to exit the garage after.
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