City Hall is looking into the company behind a planned launch next week of a mobile app that will help drivers sell their city parking spaces to other drivers, and maintained its stance that publicly owned spaces can’t be privately sold.
“The city of Boston has been in touch with Haystack, and we are exploring their service,” said mayoral spokeswoman Kate Norton.
Baltimore-based Haystack plans to debut the smartphone service in Boston next Thursday. Its mobile app would connect parking-space seekers willing to pay $3 to secure the spots of drivers leaving their spaces. Haystack would get 75 cents of that.
The app’s “make-me-move” feature lets parked drivers set their own price, between $5 and $15, for a spot they’re willing to vacate “for the right price.”
Asked if the city sees Haystack’s business model as legal, Norton said, “I don’t have an answer for that.”
But Haystack founder Eric Meyer said, “Our firm belief is that Haystack is 100 percent legal. Haystack is simply a platform that allows users to exchange information. Neighbors have every right to exchange that information. Haystack does not buy, sell, lease or retain any physical parking spots.”
Meyer said he had a “very good, collaborative conversation” yesterday with the co-chairmen of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, which serves as the city’s innovation incubator.
He said he outlined benefits, such as reducing traffic congestion and emissions, and easing drivers’ parking frustrations. Noting the city’s recent request for proposals for an app that would let drivers pay for parking meters with their smartphones, Meyer said, “We could envision several ways in which Haystack could collaborate with the city to kind of fuse potentially those two systems.”
Haystack launched in beta mode in Baltimore on June 3.