I have been going back and forth with Brian over at Parking Auction to try to understand just how this works. I think I have it so here goes:
You sign up with an account with Parking Auction. Then, when you are about to leave a parking space, you fill out a form on your smart phone that tells where the space is, and how much you want for it and when you will be vacating it. Then if someone in the area, who is also on the Parking Auction program sees the spot and wants it, they can agree to pay what you asked, or bid another number. When you get someone who agrees, they will receive the make and model of your car (and you theirs) so they can look for the spot. They will also get a map on their phone showing them how to get from where they are to the spot. When they arrive, you drive away and the money is deposited in your Parking Auction account. If you want to see what the screens look like on your smart phone, check out this article.
If you leave and someone else takes the spot, then the deal is off. If someone comes up and demands the spot you have to give it up and the deal is off. You are paying not for the space, but for the information as to where there is an empty space.
I don’t know if I can see myself doing this, however, in crowded central cities like Manhattan, where parking spaces are like gold, this might be a real boon to people coming in late at night and looking for a space near their apartments. As Parking Auction founder Brian Rosetti says:
“If I’m parked on the street and wouldn’t mind moving my car to a spot half a mile away that isn’t residential, I may be happy to give it up to my neighbor that just got home from East Hampton on a Sunday night with two kids in a car she has to unload. We think that’s quite a neighborly and valuable service.”