Haystack is one of latest “parking spot poaching” apps to hit the market. Haystack lets people “sell” their parking spaces to drivers who are looking for a spot. While this might be a cool way for some people to make money, some cities are cracking down on this dubious practice. Here’s what you should know about the legality of Haystack and other apps like it.
1. Haystack Lets People Pay to Swipe Someone’s Parking Spot
Check out the video above to learn more about these types of apps.
Haystack is just one of several “predatory parking” apps out now. Valley Wag notes that MonkeyParking recently raised some eyebrows in San Francisco. MonkeyParking, along with the apps Sweetch and ParkModo, were included in a cease-and-desist letter San Francisco officials issued last month. The companies were given a deadline to cease operations, or else they would be fined.
Oddly enough, San Francisco has experimented with the idea of “surge pricing” for its city parking spaces, just not through an app. A federally-funded project called SFpark recently got some press. Here’s how it works:
“If parking is in high demand on Friday evenings in one block, for instance, rates would increase. A block away, if spaces are typically empty, rates would be reduced. The concept was to spread out demand by tinkering with prices, making it easier for drivers to find spaces.”
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4. Apps Like Haystack May Appeal to ‘Green Drivers’
One benefit Haystack specifically touts in its App Store screenshots is the ability to “Save Time & Emissions.” Some eco-conscious drivers hate the fact that circling the block looking for an open spot is sending emissions into the air. Haystack may be a controversial app, but it may have some appeal for drivers who want to either save the environment, or just hate wasting expensive gas while driving around in search of a place to park.
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5. Boston Has Been Slow to Adopt Haystack
— James Gill (@techsavvywriter) July 26, 2014
A report about Haystack on Boston.com mentioned the app in conjunction with the term “jerk tech,” referring to any type of tech “innovation” that is essentially mean-spirited.
Haystack may have been singled out by Boston officials, but the use of the app hasn’t yet been banned there. However, Bostonians have been slow to adopt Haystack. The Boston Herald reports that Haystack seems to be a ghost town, at least in Boston. Herald writer Jordan Graham shares his experience with using the app to make a profit:
“I drove to Newbury Street, hoping to make a killing. I found a prime parking spot…but even on a bustling Friday afternoon where no empty space on Newbury Street stayed vacant for more than 20 seconds, I had no takers. My original offer expired after an hour or so, and an hour later my second offer expired too…
A handful of spots did begin popping up yesterday evening, but many were permit parking only, and I found none close to where I wanted to go.”