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An end to your parking woes

The next time you drive to a lavish wedding in south Mumbai in your Sedan, don’t fret over finding parking space. Someone else will do that for you. Sweta Ramanujan reports.

mumbai Updated: Nov 02, 2009 00:50 IST
Sweta Ramanujan

The next time you drive to a lavish wedding in south Mumbai in your Sedan, don’t fret over finding parking space. Someone else will do that for you.

Valet parking services have come to your rescue.

“In the last five years, demand for valet parking services has risen drastically,” said Salamat Shidvankar of Sani Consultancy Pvt Ltd, which started such services in 2006.

“The concept has changed… You need a specialised person to park, especially in malls and multiplexes where there are no proper driveways.”

Valet parking services, these days, are not limited only to plush hotels alone; they’re available at weddings, malls, multiplexes and even swank stores on busy streets.

“The demand is rising as people are now aware of such services,” said Sagar Group’s Santosh Chakor, who provides valet parking services since 2007. “People prefer valet parking because it takes away the stress of finding parking space.”
Shidvankar categorises the demand for the services.

“In south Mumbai, valet parking is a necessity due to space congestion there. In western suburbs, it is a value added service while in the eastern suburbs, it is more of a status symbol.”

“Valet parking services were common in countries like Dubai,” said Anil Joshi, proprietor of Mumbai Valet Parking Solution, who launched his service in 2006.

Joshi employs 650 trained drivers and charges Rs 600 for one driver. “I felt it was necessary in Mumbai.”

Joshi’s company also uses motorbikes to ferry drivers to the parking lot if it is far away from the venue of the eve`nt.
Joshi is now preparing for the wedding season when he manages at least 20 weddings a day across the city and on the outskirts.

“For big events where we handle 500-1,000 cars, we even provide insurance against damage to cars,” said Joshi. “We also repair cars if our drivers happen to damage them though such a thing has never happened.”

Shidvankar feels since the service is getting so popular, insurance companies should introduce products catering to this nascent industry.