A lot of people who went to the first L.A. Rams game last weekend took the train, but even more of them got there the old-fashioned L.A. way. They drove — and paid a lot of money for parking.
Some fans reported shelling out as much as $200 to park by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But a couple new Internet start-ups are pairing residents with available driveways and drivers who’d like to park in them.
The goal is to free up parking spots that are otherwise off limits in an effort to ease congestion and make more parking available.
“Thirty percent of city traffic is caused by people looking for parking,” said Sarah Zurell, chief brand officer for the L.A.-based, peer-to-peer parking app, Pavemint.
Pavemint soft launched Sunday, with 91 parking spots near the Los Angeles Coliseum listed for $30 to $100 during the Rams game.
All the time spent looking for parking spaces comes with an environmental cost, Zurell said. In Los Angeles each year, drivers log 5.5 billion miles and waste 270 million gallons of gas, generating 4.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, just from looking for parking.
Pavemint works in a manner similar to Airbnb. People who have driveways with space for people to park list it through the app and set their driveway’s availability and pricing.
Drivers who want to park in those driveways use the Pavemint app to make a reservation in advance or to book it on the fly and also pay for it through the app. At the end of the transaction, both parties get the chance to review the experience.
Pavemint currently has 309 driveways signed up and is doubling that number each week, Zurell said. It plans to expand to West Hollywood in late October, just prior to the area’s Halloween festival, and launch citywide in January.
While any person with a driveway can sign up, “a prime space would be near a boulevard or near a venue whether it be a sports venue or a music venue, where it is inherently very hard to park and you probably don’t know someone where you can park in their driveway,” Zurell said.
Another parking startup launching in L.A. in October also pairs driveway owners and users — specifically driveways with electric vehicle chargers and drivers of electric vehicles.
It works like other sharing services. People with EV chargers list the charger, when it’s available and how much it will cost to charge there. Drivers who want to use those chargers can make a reservation in advance and pay for charging through the company's web site.
“Charging is a real problem for EV drivers so it keeps people from purchasing these vehicles,” said Shannon Walker, co-founder of EVMatch.co, based in Santa Barbara. “But when we’re able to facilitate this sharing, then we can essentially bring more charging stations into the public network and provide people more charging which in turn can support more EVs.”
In L.A., there are currently 50,000 registered EVs, but the number of public charging stations is far less than that. Locating those chargers requires navigating a maze of competing charging networks.
The popular EV charger site, Plugshare, also lists residential chargers, but it doesn’t include reservations and payment.
The goal of EV Match is to make more home-charging stations available — and to allow EV drivers to reserve charging in advance while allowing the owners of EV chargers to recoup their costs and even make a profit.
EV Match is currently signing up users and will debut in L.A. in October before rolling out to the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.