Finding a parking space at a popular tourist spot or downtown is no mean feat, especially on weekends or holidays. But for a limited time, owners of homes or condominiums are letting people park in such locations to make a quick yen in tough economic times.
Nokisaki Inc. runs a daily rental parking lot service that connects owners of parking spaces with desperate drivers heading to popular destinations.
At Nokisaki Parking, which means “parking under the eaves,” drivers can even reserve a parking space before leaving their homes.
“Our service has helped improve the surrounding environments because it alleviates traffic jams and reduces illegal parking,” Akiko Nishiura, the 44-year-old president of the Tokyo-based company, said in an interview.
People who wish to rent out their spaces set the dates when they will be available and any fee they want, but the company recommends they undercut their neighborhood parking lots by about 10 percent.
Prices tend to rise near stadiums or venues where popular sports events or concerts are scheduled, the company warned.
Drivers who sign up with the service can choose a space and pay the designated fee on the company’s website. The space lenders take 65 percent of the fee while Nokisaki takes the rest as a commission.
The company started the service in October 2012 with about 10 parking spaces near Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower, before it opened in May that year.
Nokisaki now has nearly 1,000 parking spaces registered mainly in Tokyo and Osaka, and a member list that has swelled to about 9,000.
Nishiura, who founded Nokisaki in 2009, said finding parking was one of the biggest hurdles when she was thinking of starting a business. This inspired her to set up Nokisaki.
Noting that parking space brokering is an ordinary business in Europe and the U.S., Nishiura said, “I believe it can grow further (in Japan) and hope to start the service in regional cities as well.”
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