NYC has lots of cheap parking spaces. The result? I (and many like me) have circled blocks, added to greenhouse gases, used precious hours and exacerbated congestion, all to find an empty muni-meter or free spot. As UCLA Professor Donald Shoup has said through his book, The High Cost of Free Parking, cheap city parking can be rather expensive.
Now, with MonkeyParking, I wonder whether we are lowering the cost.
MonkeyParking is a recent addition to the sharing economy. Initiated in San Francisco, a MonkeyParking app pairs someone looking for a space with a person who is parked on the street. Starting at $5, you can pay up to $20 through an online credit card transaction, zoom over to the space, ask the “seller” to leave and it is yours. MonkeyParking says they also operate in Rome and will select a third city through a vote at their website.
Our bottom line? Through the negative externalities it generates, city dwellers experience too high a cost (sacrifice) for cheap parking. Perhaps, by raising the price of city parking, MonkeyParking is actually lowering the cost.
Do you think MonkeyParking is creating a positive externality or will selling a spot you do not own lead to unexpected consequences? Please let us know in a comment.