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back to article San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

San Francisco city officials are cracking down on mobile applications that allow users to buy and sell public parking spaces. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Monday that his office had sent a cease-and-desist notice to the developers of Monkey Parking, a mobile app which lets users sell their public parking spaces in crowded …

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sounds like

they have regulated it, and it's banned.. doesn't sound like this is a new ban. I still won't go to SFO, don't want to get attacked by hipsters riding their segways or whatever. I avoid that place at almost all costs.

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Re: sounds like

I don't know what you're talking about. I've still seen only about a dozen Google Glasses. Once I even met someone in a bar who didn't work in tech.

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Re: sounds like

Sweeping generalization much?

The only bad thing I have to say about SF is that parts of it smell bad. Some neighborhoods seem to have problems with trash pickup, and BART/Muni stations have that urine marinate that will make you turn around and go "nope!".

Mostly though, it's a great city. Some of the best vacations I've ever had were visiting there, and it's just as great outside of city limits.

P.S. the only thing dumber than making an app to sell a public parking spot (for one stop), is being the kind of world-class douchehat that buys one.

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JLV
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Re: sounds like

>hipsters riding their segways

I think you're pretty safe. Far as I can tell, SF bans pretty much all skateboards and rollerblades :( so my guess is that they have your back wrt Segways as well.

'sides isn't "the device that will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy" pretty much dead in the water anyway?

Beautiful city aside from that, to each his own.

Far as the app goes, it seems as nice a concept as ticket scalpers. Bad enough to find a parking spot usually, now you can have folks in the business of dinging you extra $ for it.

I'm all for the Ubers and AirBnb, because they add a new supply to an existing demand. This looks like it'll just enrich some middlemen.

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Joke

Re: sounds like

in fact on a recent trip there, I mentioned that in passing in a pub that "It is odd to see skateboards not on school children", and got the "can that be true?" look. I mean, SF is REALLY hilly!!! \

I did however meet the guy who has one of the electric skateboards that was designed to go up those hills....

SF is a strange as it is brilliant.

P.

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Anonymous Coward

Damn

Just finished sending this as a news tip,

Those vulturine journalists are deadly fast.....

But wouldn't it be possible to circumvent the entire city ban with an encrypted mobe app and a little hackery?

Then the city would have to send out undercover meter maids with smart phones AND cars. That would be a real story.

Mission District, 5 PM.

Garishly Dressed Undercover Meter Maid: Hey handsome, whatcha doing in this parking space ?

Driver: Waiting for you sweetheart, you wanna park on my G-Spot? Normally It's 20 bucks but you can have it for free if you'll just spank the monkey.

Meter Maid: (drawing out her ticket book and meter-maid taser) FREEZE Scumbag!

Driver: Ah man.....

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Next: public park benches for rent

Want one in the shade on a Sunday in Kensington Gardens? {sharp intake of breath} W-e-e-l-l-l, that's gonna cost you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Next: public park benches for rent

Not a chance. If you want to make money you have to sell something of value. Parking space have value, public park benches, not so much. You have no idea what you might catch from them.

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City's doing it wrong, they should ask for a cut of the action.

At the very least they should monitor the auction results; this could be a good source of data that might be of interest to City land use and transportation planners. If people are bidding ginormous amounts for parking in one area, perhaps the City should adjust the transit routes to better serve this area so folks have more options.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: City's doing it wrong, they should ask for a cut of the action.

I bet that San Francisco is as bigotted as Canberra. They don't just want nobody to bid for parking. They really don't want anybody parking.

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Re: good source of data

If the city were a business they would. They aren't so they don't give a damn. They've set the rates, designated the buildings, and set the available number of spaces. The people can go frell themselves if they don't like it. They know where the congestion is and they know why. They regard it as a good thing because it discourages people from driving.

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Pirate

Makes someone happy?

""This applies also to companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft that are continuously facing difficulties while delivering something that makes users happy," he said."

Sorry but an app that lets me contact an escort of my choosing and negotiate a haggle free price up front? Now that would make me happy, but that still doesn't mean it should be legal.

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Re: Makes someone happy?

"that still doesn't mean it should be legal."

I think that's the wrong way around - it says that you should need government permission to do stuff: Anything not allowed is illegal.

I think it ought to be that the government should generally mind its own business and only prohibit things as an exception.

Just my 2₵

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Makes someone happy?

"an app that lets me contact an escort of my choosing and negotiate a haggle free price up front? Now that would make me happy"

You mean like the AdultWork mobile web app which coincidentally is legal (in the UK at least)?

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Re: Makes someone happy?

Sorry, but when you cut a single sentence taken out of context...

The point was that just because something brings enjoyment to someone doesn't mean it should be made legal or right.

In the UK there was a show on football hooligans. Those who love to go and get in to fights for the sake of fighting. They enjoy it. Should it be legal?

Uncontrolled/Unregulated prostitution. Should that be legal?

By the argument espoused by the company, it should when it shouldn't.

Then there's the city's side. Its illegal to try and profit from a public resource.

Suppose its a very hot day and you want to take a drink from a public drinking fountain. (Yes, I'm showing my age because today you'd buy a bottle of water.) But when you got to the drinking fountain there were a couple of tough guys who told you it would cost you a couple of bucks to take a drink...

You get the idea. So by the company's perspective... that would be legal.

To look at it a different way, under the law, the person who's selling a public spot doesn't own the public spot or rights to the public spot.

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Re: Makes someone happy?

@AC.. whatever floats your boat. :-)

But its not legal in the US.

I could have said "an app that lets me find the spot market price for meth and negotiate a free delivery to my doorstep with no police intervention?"

Would that be better?

Oh wait, its called Craigslist. :-P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Makes someone happy?

"But its not legal in the US."

Probably varies state by state

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jurisdiction

"So it's illegal for people to buy/sell parking spots in SF. That doesn't mean it's illegal for a company to host that service on it's servers in Uzbekistan"

True, but presumably it would need to be a mobile website rather than an app, since let's face it the main players in the smartphone business presumably host their app stores in the states, subject to US Law, takedown orders, and litigation.

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Money For Nothing

" in general the company hopes that cities will regulate the service rather than issue an outright ban."

In general, the company hopes the city will bankroll its business model by allowing people to sell something that is already owned by the public.

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Re: Money For Nothing

"...sell something that is already owned by the public"

Common practice for gov.uk

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Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

Not to forget the opportunity to sell that something twice over (or more)

i.e. I pay for two hours parking, after one hour I vacate the space which is immediately occupied by a grateful other person who is required to pay again for the hour I paid for but will now not use.

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Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

@Deltics, If you feel that strongly about the city doubling up, you could stick your unexpired ticket back onto the pay machine so that the next person to park doesn't have to pay. (If it's a roadside meter, the next person doesn't have to pay anyway).

I'm a bit baffled by the other replies here that attempt to equate ParkingMonkey with privatised utilities or congestion charging. In both of those cases, the proceeds of the sale or charge return directly to the government that built the infrastructure (using public money); those proceeds are then used to increase service or infrastructure spending without increasing taxes. The ParkingMonkey users, on the other hand, are claiming ownership of public infrastructure, renting it, and pocketing the proceeds. (And how many users are declaring that income on their tax returns, I wonder...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

> I pay for two hours parking, after one hour I vacate the space which is immediately occupied by a grateful other person who is required to pay again for the hour I paid for but will now not use

In busy places, as soon as you approach your car you'll have someone queueing up for your parking space. In this case, if you have unused parking time left and an actual paper ticket, you give it to the next driver as a matter of courtesy.

Sometimes you will be that next driver, even.

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Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

"unused parking time left and an actual paper ticket, you give it to the next driver"

Most places I park these days either want the numbers from you number plate entered and printed on the ticket or the whole reg. number. If you don't enter the correct details, you can be find and also can't pass the ticket on.

As it happens, I never pass it on anyway. I need it for my expenses claim and parking alone can be £50-100 some months.

Maybe in SF they still have dumb ticket machines and clockwork parking meters?

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Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

@ Kristian Walsh

"If it's a roadside meter, the next person doesn't have to pay anyway..."

It must be nice, living where you do. A lot of the cities in my neck of the woods that haven't gone the "ticket kiosk and numbered space" route have installed coin-op digital meters with sensors that flip the time remaining to zero when the vehicle leaves the space in front of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

> Most places I park these days either want the numbers from you number plate entered and printed on the ticket or the whole reg. number

Street parking? Where would these places be?

> As it happens, I never pass it on anyway. I need it for my expenses claim and parking alone can be £50-100 some months.

You can take a picture or scan it¹. Although some beancounters still insist on paper receipts, that's rarely required anymore, and makes everyone's lives easier.

¹ A well-prepared driver always carries a scanner in the boot, of course. Preferably A3 format (some of those parking receipts can be pretty large as we all know).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

> have installed coin-op digital meters with sensors that flip the time remaining to zero when the vehicle leaves the space in front of it.

Duct tape?

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Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

"> Most places I park these days either want the numbers from you number plate entered and printed on the ticket or the whole reg. number

Street parking? Where would these places be?"

Tyneside, Teesside, York, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, probably others I don't remember right now.

Not all on street parking, but some city/town centre areas. Car parks too.

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Anonymous Coward

Free enterprise?

Monkey see, monkey do?

No.

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Devil

"We don't understand why they want to shut us down. We are trying to solve the huge parking problem which is not only bad for drivers but for all the city,"

That'll be big business being looked after by the local authorities it supplies with crack, hookers and blowies.

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Explain please!

What is a public parking space? You're allowed to sell your private parking space, so that'd be your drive presumably. This is what? Charging people to park in the street outside your house? Going out early and baggsying a public spot then agreeing to move for someone else for a fee? I don't get it, how can I be paid for letting someone else in to a public parking place?

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Re: Explain please!

I don't get it, how can I be paid for letting someone else in to a public parking place?

I suspect the idea is that when you're ready to vacate the public space you parked in, you offer it on the app. Someone then 'buys' the space, and you vacate it for them upon their arrival instead of simply leaving it empty for the next vehicle to park.

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Re: Explain please!

Except you have no right (moral or legal) to do this. The space doesn't belong to you just because you're parked in it. It remains the property of the city. The city have granted you only the right to occupy it, but not the right to re-sell that right.

Sure, I've given friends a heads-up when I'm leaving so that they can get a better (or legal!) parking space that I'm vacating, but I've never been so greedy as to ask for money for it. Why should I? It's not my space.

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Re: Explain please!

I'm confused, too. If it's an allocated, on the road space, that only you can park in, then offering your permit to others for the times when you're out isn't a bad idea. If it's just uncontrolled space on the highway that you happen to be parked in, then you've absolutely no business selling it on.

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Re: Explain please!

What if A is parked in a space and "sells" it to B but then C arrives who is unaware of all this and grabs the space first?

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Re: Explain please!

I guess the people who came up with this idea believe that by calling themselves "disruptive" they magically acquire the right to do whatever they want, because it's "bold and innovative," whereas a lot of other people think it's merely bold as brass and the sort of entitled wankery that gives tech a bad name.

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Re: Explain please!

They're not selling the spaces. They're collecting finders fees for the available spaces.

It certainly is a service to other drivers. If I can spend $5 for a space and save 30 minutes of driving around waiting for a spot to open, it's worth the money to save the time. And it's not like the city is losing revenue. You have to pay for the space if you use it. In fact it could even drive up revenue. If I know I will have a space available it might be worth it to me drive downtown when otherwise I might drive elsewhere.

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Authorities here wise to it...

Long years ago a friend living in Covent Garden with no car applied for a permit and sold it to a local ad agency. Since then Camden Council have tightened up on applications and enforcement.

As for comment above that it's public space and we can do what we want with it -- the permits are intended to facilitate people living there to park without having to compete with outsiders commuting by car. Both London and (in my experience) San Francisco have reasonably good public transport for commuters.

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Linux

Re: Authorities here wise to it...

try getting a parking pass in Oxford!!! If it is anything other than your name on the V5C(registration), receipt for the car, house lease they WILL not give you a parking pass.

Hence, having a car is an exercise in futility, since you can't park anywhere else...!

An app like this would probably not work in many UK small cities...

I will say I have seen the *informal* version of this in Rome and Catania, where guys will help you park your car for one Euro...I mean, unless they are , y'know, connected the locals had no problem with it....

P.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Authorities here wise to it...

> where guys will help you park your car for one Euro

Ermmm... They're not "helping" you park your car. They're "helping" you protect that nice car of yours. It'd be a shame if anything would happen to it, y'a know Guv'?

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Parking garages

So I take it that in San Fran, the parking garage still needs to be invented? Maybe I should do a Kickstarter campaign to build one.

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