SAN FRANCISCO — In a city short on parking and flush with tech millionaires, a mobile application enabling motorists to auction off their public-parking spaces to nearby drivers may have been inevitable.
According to San Francisco’s city attorney, it’s also illegal.
On Monday, the maker of the Monkey Parking app was issued a cease-and-desist order, with city officials citing the section of the municipal code that prohibits the buying or selling of public on-street parking.
“Technology has given rise to many laudable innovations in how we live and work — and Monkey Parking is not one of them,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. “We will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public-parking spots for their own private profit.”
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The app markets itself as the first service that lets drivers “make money every time that you are about to leave your on-street parking spot.”
Finding a parking spot in the city can be nightmarish. It’s not uncommon for residents to spend hundreds of dollars each month renting out a private space. The situation is believed to have gotten even worse amid the latest tech boom as companies in the sector open up office space here, bringing with them even more transplants.
But the law states that drivers who buy or sell public spots can face penalties of up to $300 for each violation.
The Monkey Parking app has been available for iOS devices on Apple’s App Store. It was created by a Rome-based tech startup.
The city attorney asked Apple to immediately remove the app from its store, claiming it violated “several of the company’s own guidelines.” In a statement, city attorneys said they planned to go after two other similar apps later this week.
The makers of Monkey Parking could not immediately be reached for comment.