‘Airbnb of parking’ arrives in Newcastle

WATCH THIS SPACE: Layne Wiseman, 21, says new car space-sharing app Parallel Parking could help ease parking in Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

WATCH THIS SPACE: Layne Wiseman, 21, says new car space-sharing app Parallel Parking could help ease parking in Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

A CAR space-sharing app dubbed “the Airbnb of parking” has launched in Newcastle, and its creators say it will ease frustration in the city’s parking pinch points including Honeysuckle and the University of Newcastle.

Working on a similar premise to smartphone apps such as Uber and Airbnb, Parallel Parking connects drivers with homeowners and tenants wanting to lease out their spare parking spots.

The app’s roughly 1500 active users can find spaces about a third cheaper than those at private car parks or street meters, its Sydney-based creators Jack Perkins and Alex Peck said, while homeowners get to supplement their income.

Each user offering a space is invited to “fill out some basic details about your space” and set a price for parking there, using the app’s recommendation engine if they wish.

A Newcastle resident who uses the app to lease a driveway or carport, Mr Perkins said, could expect to make $3000 in a year through the inbuilt electronic payment system.

Once a driver pays to park in a space, the app’s owners take a 10 per cent commission.

“The parking crisis across Sydney and Newcastle is one of the reasons we set up Parallel Parking,” Mr Perkins said.

“We’re expecting to see our users concentrated in the Newcastle CBD, even the areas around Hunter Stadium on game days.

The big shopping centres, as well. Trying to get into a car park in the lead-up to Christmas – there’s nothing worse.”

The app’s creators see a reservoir of potential users in the student body of the University of Newcastle, as well as the homeowners who live near the Callaghan campus.

Layne Wiseman, 21, studies primary school teaching and the arts at the university.

She has used Parallel Parking in Sydney’s notoriously congested Bondi, and said it could alleviate parking expenses for cash-strapped university students.

“Parking at the uni is insane. Sometimes you try to invent a spot and hope for the best,” Ms Wiseman, of Bar Beach, said.

“There’s so many houses around that could use [Parallel Parking], and I think people could make a little bit of money and help out their fellow students as well.”

The Newcastle City Council area has 4100 street car spaces and 4900 off-street spaces, of which 1030 are managed by the council.

Approached by the Newcastle Herald about Parallel Parking’s arrival in Newcastle, the council declined to comment.

Uber, the ride-sharing app that launched in Newcastle six months ago, claims 500 drivers in the city and 25,000 “active riders”.

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