News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

A valet in your phone - new apps make parking easier, and maybe cheaper, too




Just as Uber and Lynx disrupted the taxi business, new app-based business such as ZIRX and Luxe are offering valet parking in urban areas, and at rates that often beat the traditional competition.
Just as Uber and Lynx disrupted the taxi business, new app-based business such as ZIRX and Luxe are offering valet parking in urban areas, and at rates that often beat the traditional competition.
ZIRX

Listen to story

06:30
Download this story 3MB

Here in Los Angeles, we probably didn't invent valet parking. But we've certainly refined it. Once the domain of high-end restaurants and hotels, there are now grocery stores and barber shops that offer valet parking.

So no wonder somebody thought, "There should be an app for that."

Two new services, ZIRX and Luxe hope to transform the parking experience in much the same way Uber has revolutionized the business of finding a ride home. Both are easy to use, and relatively cheap. For $15 a valet will meet you at your destination, park your car in a secure garage, and return it to you when you're ready for it.

Everything is handled by the app - from offering you the name and a picture of your valet, to being able to track your car's parked location.  

Right now, service areas are limited. For instance, ZIRX currently only serves downtown and a specific chunk of Hollywood. But it plans to expand, and is operating in other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Like Uber, no cash transaction is required - you register a credit card when you sign up for the app. The companies say no tip is required either, but in our one parking experience, the ZIRX attendant accepted an offered gratuity, with grace.