One of the main hassles for a motorist in the UAE is not actually getting from point A to point B but actually managing to find parking once he gets there. A new startup that is positioned as the “Airbnb for parking”, Yalla Parking seeks to take advantage of this gap in the market and may possibly solve the parking woes of many motorists here.
Set up by two entrepreneurs, Craig MacDonald and Harrison Jones, Yalla Parking will serve as a platform to connect those seeking parking spaces in the areas they live or work to connect with those who may have empty parking spaces. In many high rise buildings, one family may have two vehicles but just one parking space, while another may have a parking space that they do not use. With overcrowding leading to parking difficulties in many parts of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the founders of Yalla Parking are confident that their startup will flourish. On the website, people can, for an unspecified fee, list their unused parking spaces for rent and get a little extra income while those looking for parking spaces will no longer have to drive in circles for hours every day while looking for a parking space. A Yalla Parking smartphone application is also under development.
McDonald first came up with the idea when he was a university student in his native Scotland and was quick to spot the opportunity in the wake of the overcrowding created by Dubai’s construction boom. Many residents of high-rise communities like Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina, Business Bay and Silicon Oasis find parking to be a really challenging task.
With regard to the rate for a parking space, generally it varies from 5 to 10 per cent of the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom flat in the area. Based on current listings, a parking spot in Downtown Dubai and JBR can end up costing AED 250 to AED 500. It would still be cheaper than normal hourly rates and would of course offer the benefit of hassle-free parking.
Yalla Parking has not yet decided on the exact commission rate and the website is still in a soft launch phase. Right now, there is no system for online payment. In a radio interview with Dubai Eye, McDonald said that the aim is to have about 500 to 600 parking spaces in Abu Dhabi and Dubai listed on the website in six months time. Currently, there are about 30 people waiting to list their spaces once the site is fully functional.
There might be a few teething issues. One major concern is the nature of permissions that might be needed before tenants in a building proceed with renting out their parking spaces. Would they need to get permission from their landlord or would they need to get permission from their master developed as well. In cases where electronic access cards are needed, there might be security concerns. There is also the question of liability in the event of any damage.
In spite of these roadblocks, if the startup proves to be successful, it may help resolve parking and traffic congestion issues in many parts of Dubai.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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