Finding parking in a busy city can be a headache, particularly if you’re planning to go right in the heart of the city. Some startups have popped up in many cities around the world, making it easier for users to find an available parking spot in the city. Similar startups are also functioning in San Francisco but the city isn’t pleased. The city attorney has sent a cease-and-desist letter to one startup and warned two others.
The letter was sent to MonkeyParking. This startup is based in Rome, but operates in San Francisco as well. The app lets users post information about the parking spot they’re about to leave. Other users can view that location and search for available spots, however this information comes at a price. San Francisco has a problem with that.
The cease-and-desist letter cites SF Police Code which states that “It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation enter into a lease, rental agreement or contract of any kind, written or oral, with or without compensation, for the use of any street or sidewalk.”
Drivers found violating this code could be cited for up to $300 per transaction and MonkeyParking itself could face a $2,500 penalty for every single violation. The startup has been given until July 11th to cease its operations in the city or potentially face legal action.
The City Attorney’s Office said in a news release that similar startups Sweetch and Parkmodo could face similar penalties and consequences as MonkeyParking. Scuffles between governmental agencies or municipalities with startups is nothing new. The startups will certainly make their own arguments about the legality of their business models, so this could turn out to be a long fight.