SFU students launch 'Airbnb of parking' app in Vancouver

May 30 2017, 12:23 am

Billing it as the “Airbnb of parking,” a team of SFU students have developed a new app to take the headache out of looking for a place to park in busy cities like Vancouver.

The app, called OpenSpot, makes privately-owned parking spaces available to the public for a set price.

It allows drivers to “find, reserve and pay for parking spaces in private driveways and garages, which are often cheaper than commercial parking lots.”

Parking spot owners simply list their spot on the app, along with the times it’s available for use, and set a price.

Baker Al-Nakib, one of the app’s developers and a third-year SFU software systems student, said the app will give drivers “certainty” around parking, wherever they may be.

Noting that on-street parking demand has outstripped supply in Vancouver’s West End, Al-Nakib said one solution the city has identified is to unlock unused parking in buildings.

“We believe OpenSpot can be a solution, helping building managers facilitate the sharing of these parking spaces between residents and visitors to the neighbourhood,” he explained.

The app will also allow homeowners to monetize their parking spots when they’re not in use, “generating extra income for items such as their mortgage, or offsetting their parking costs elsewhere.”

OpenSpot launched on May 17. It is available on the App Store for iOS devices and on Google Play for Android devices.

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Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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