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mar 06, 2017

Brazil applies the sharing economy to the urban parking dilemma

Most of us use the sharing economy in our everyday lives, whether it's to catch a quick ride to work or rent out that weekend getaway home. But one Brazilian entrepreneur has decided to bring the sharing economy to yet another aspect of life - the urban parking dilemma. 

Luiz Candreva, founder of park-sharing app EzPark, hails from Latin America’s largest, and very congested, metropolis, São Paulo. Like other major cities around the world, parking is a daily headache. And the numbers reflect this. 

The British newspaper The Telegraph revealed that drivers in big cities spend on average 50 hours per year just looking for parking spots. Meanwhile, other studies confirm that up to 30% of traffic in big cities is made up of drivers simply looking for a place to park. 

Of course, solving the lack of parking spots is never easy, and always controversial. Nobody wants a giant, ugly parking lot, but everybody wants a parking spot. In São Paulo, the excessive demand for parking compared to the lack of parking spots is extreme. For every 7 cars, there is only 1 parking spot. 

But rather than reduce the demand through traffic limitations, or creating more controversial parking lots, EzPark offers an entirely innovative solution. Through the app, individuals or establishments with unused parking spots can offer, for a fee, their space to any stranger passing by. EzPark then takes 10 to 30 percent of the parking fee. 

Drivers can even reserve parking spots ahead of time, for example if they know they’ll be headed to a concert, party, or soccer game and want to avoid the headache of finding a space to leave their car. Both parties, drivers and parking spot providers, must have insurance and credit cards to attach to their profiles.

Not only does this give drivers an efficient way to find and reserve parking, but those with extra, unused space now have a way to make a little extra cash. And all with the simple click of a smartphone.

Since its launch in 2014, EzPark has registered 138,000 parking spots across four countries: Brazil, Chile, United States, and Nigeria. Its user base grows 7 percent per week. And Candreva doesn’t see that growth slowing down anytime soon. According to the Brazilian entrepreneur, he envisions a future in which people are wondering, “How did we ever park without this?"