SFU students design Airbnb-style app for parking spaces
A pair of Simon Fraser University students have designed an app that lets people rent out personal parking spaces for cash.
Like many motorists in Metro Vancouver, third-year students Baker Al-Nakib and Thamer Matar are no strangers to spending time circling a block or parking lot in search of a space.
"I used to drive from Surrey to downtown," Matar said. "I would spend 15-20 minutes driving around [looking for parking]."
It was frustrating experiences like those that inspired them to create their app, Openspot Parking, which functions similarly to Airbnb. Users can rent out a parking space in their private driveway or garage for less than drivers would spend at a meter.
"If you own a house or if you live in an apartment you can list your driveway or your parking, or even your business, your alleyway parking," Matar said.
"You can make between $3,000 and $8,000 a year," Al-Nakib estimated.
That's a fair chunk of change, even after the app owners take their 30 per cent share. But just because there are empty residential spaces available doesn't mean they can necessarily be rented out.
People in condos and apartments would have to deal with gated garages, not to mention backlash from other residents. Plus, renting out parking spaces isn’t typically allowed in the City of Vancouver.
City staff told CTV News residents who wish to do so would require a licence.
However, licences are also required for short-term apartment rentals, and Airbnb continues to flourish in spite of Vancouver’s regulations.
The city has also allowed homeowners who live near the Pacific National Exhibition to sell spaces on their driveway, even encouraging them to post ads on sites like Craigslist.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim