Turns out selling access to public parking spaces is, in fact, illegal.
Today the City of San Francisco issued a cease-and-desist order to Monkey Parking, a mobile application that allows drivers to bid on public parking spaces that are about to be vacated by another driver. Two other parking startups that attempt to monetize public parking spaces, Sweetch and ParkModo, will receive cease-and-desist demands this week, according to the city attorney’s office.
In a letter to Monkey Parking today, the city’s legal authority states that the San Francisco police code “prohibits individuals and companies from buying, selling or leasing public on-street parking.” The city can fine drivers up to $300 for leasing or renting public parking spots, and Monkey Parking could face fines of up to $2,500 per violation should the city decide to sue.
“Technology has given rise to many laudable innovations in how we live and work—and Monkey Parking is not one of them,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “It’s illegal, it puts drivers on the hook for $300 fines, and it creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate.”
Frustrations with applications like Monkey Parking and Sweetch are nothing new to San Francisco residents. In neighborhoods like the Mission District where tensions between longtime locals and new residents who move to the city to work in the technology industry have come to a head in recent months, “sharing economy” applications like peer-to-peer parking services are viewed as disruptive to the community—not the industry itself.
The city has also asked Apple to remove the application from the App Store. According to the city attorney’s office, Monkey Parking—and, presumably, other pay-to-park applications—violate Apple’s own guidelines because they don’t comply with legal requirements in San Francisco.
Lead image by Matt Page on Flickr