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Parking as business idea

chandigarh Updated: Mar 16, 2014 10:09 IST
Madhusheel Arora
Madhusheel Arora
Hindustan Times
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Is parking a business opportunity? If you have been following the scene in Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR), you would know that there is a project on, which when complete, will allow users to book a parking spot in premium markets online, using software that displays real-time information.

However, let us consider the problem of parking in a focused manner in the case of the tricity, especially in light of the recent protests in Mohali over paid parking.

The issue boils down to people wanting the same space at the same time, a quintessential management conundrum. A solution to this could be a billion dollar idea for an entrepreneur that operationalises it, without charging the customer overly for the service.

However, just hoping that charging for the service will make parking orderly will not work. This can maybe ensure that there is less chaos, but is by no means a business solution. Somehow, we need to inculcate in people that getting a car on road is a responsible choice and must not be exercised casually.

How will we generate revenue and business from parking?
Here are some possible solutions that perhaps I can dare to let the readers act as a sounding board on.
The first idea is an off-shoot of a Bangalore-based start-up’s vision, where their company, Freekall, offers you the facility of free mobile calls, provided you allow them to interrupt your conversation every two minutes, with advertisements. For details refer to http://www.hindustantimes.com/businessnews/zerorupee-network-4-bangalore-boys-offer-free-phone-calls-without-internet/article1-1193824.aspx

For parking, a similar model could be for governments and local bodies to actually encourage free parking, but at a distance from the crowded city centre.

Why should people park there, you ask?
Those who park at these designated spots could in fact be paid based on the premise that they are saving fuel and by preferring to walk are helping save the country’s import bill and not adding to the sale of the subsidised fuel.

On the other hand, the premium spots must be made expensive for parking so that only with real need and inclination approach these areas with their vehicles. For these in fact, it can be very convenient to even take online bookings to park just as we buy movie tickets on the web. This is a massive project, but is doable.

Another way in which parking can be seen as a business opportunity is to use IT and internet to rent the vehicle out when the owner is going to keep it idle in the office or any other spaces any way.

What I am also getting at is that a car is a moving piece of real estate and perhaps can be used to display ads in a mobile form.

This, however, is unlikely to find favour in the tricity as people will be loathe to let-go of their personal car-space, but over time this will gain traction, especially in the denselypopulated metropolis.

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