By Devin Holt
Talk about a public private partnership. The news that a new app called MonkeyParking will allow car owners to sell access to their public, on-street parking spaces pissed off almost everyone. Huffington Post ran the headline “This App Sums Up Why Everyone Hates Silicon Valley,” and a story in SF Weekly featured a long list of tweets railing against the concept.
But let’s face it. In 2014 San Francisco, space, access, and status are at a premium, and there are well-heeled folks in town who don’t mind paying extra for them — assuming they can do so from their phone.
So in a nod to entrepreneurship and the “sharing” economy, we’re proposing six new apps we totally (don’t) need.
Hardly Any Blankets
Everyone loves a free festival. But the problem with something that everyone loves, is that everyone shows up for it. If you’ve ever come late to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s season opener in Dolores Park, you’ve no doubt noticed a lack of open viewing space. Hardly Any Blankets solves this problem.
Users can bid on spacious, clean blankets that are close to the front of any public gathering. For the perpetually late, it’s a life saver, and for the early birds, it’s extra cash. Just show up early, claim as much space as possible, and wait for the bids to roll in.
Hop Over People
Speaking of Dolores Park, why not get your Bi-Rite right? Long lines are annoying, especially if those anti-everything people are having another demonstration. Avoid the whole mess with HOP.
The HOP app lets anyone at the front of the line sell their space to someone at the end. For the wealthy and impatient, it’s perfect, and for the anti-everything people, it’s a chance to get in on the tech boom.
We all know that downtown San Francisco has a lack of good bathrooms, and those green public toilet pods are downright scary. But there might be someone nearby who’s using one of the nicer stalls in a public bathroom at Macy’s, Starbucks, or those fly ones at Nordstrom.
BS lets people who are already inside the stall advertise their willingness to vacate it for a specific person. Just remember, the cleaner the stall, the larger the bid. So carry air freshener.
Sitting In Trains
Why should the elderly and disabled be the only people who can always get a seat on Muni? There might be someone on the train who wants that seat more than you do. With SIT, the cost of seats on the train changes in real time, based on the number of people who list their spots as “up for grabs.”
Tomorrow is bike to work day, and it’s a fair bet that some people will have to spend a long time looking for a decent bike rack. Next year, they should get Always Lock-It.
Always Lock-It connects environmentally-conscious bike riders with other environmentally-conscious bike riders who just happen to be ready to pedal away. Offer them a small donation to wait a minute so you can snag that awesome bike rack in the BART station.
Of course, the more popular the location, the higher the donation.
Movies cost way too much these days. With popcorn, IMAX, and 3D it’s easy to burn through $50 for two people. But why pay that much when someone is bound to stumble in after the third preview?
Use Movie Seats to sell your good spot in the middle, then head to the back row and call it even. It’s the ultimate win-win.
And this is just the beginning. From parking spaces and movie seats to park benches and waiting in line, there’s really no limit to the ways we can "share" public space. All you have to do is use your imagination (full disclosure: the author of this article has already signed up for MonkeyParking and is only typing this at the office because they haven’t gotten back to him yet).
Image from BrokenSphere