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ParkEasy's Progress Hints A Better Parking Future For Us All. Victory For Disruption?

Despite controversies they faced because of similar options in the past, ParkEasy is doubling down on their value proposition by also tackling the parking hell of Jalan Telawi, Bangsar.

In a blog post published about their new addition, ParkEasy announced that “You can now reserve street parking on Jalan Telawi on Sundays”, thanks to their deal with Jalan Telawi store The Sartorial.

With this deal, users can reserve parking all day on Sunday—of course, provided if the previous parker has vacated the spot.

Location of the new parking on Google Maps

This is a new addition to ParkEasy’s other lots on in Jalan Telawi that allows parkers to reserve spots once the shop lot renters have rolled the shutters down for the day.

Warren of ParkEasy stated that, “We’re making sure that during the time that they are not usually used, it’s actually available for other people. So we’re actually unlocking an underutilised space.

Like many of us, they probably felt the frustration of seeing a perfectly viable, but blocked parking space to a shop that doesn’t need it anymore during a night’s outing to Jalan Telawi.

And this leads to the launch of ParkEasy’s extension—perhaps less disruptive than their introduction, but no less ballgame-changing for what has been our established system here.

How to reserve a spot (Screenshot from ParkEasy)

The team wants you to know that they’re not taking away any open parking spots from other parkers.

This feature comes as an extension to ParkEasy’s actual product—the automatic parking barrier. They’ve been using these in IOI City mall, and have since offered them as alternatives to shop lot owners who would otherwise put up everything from chairs, traffic cones or even the municipally-issued barriers that pop up and down to prevent unwanted parkers.

“Part of the reason why we’re so well accepted by the shop owners is that every time a barrier issued by the municipal council is hit by a car, they actually have to pay the municipal council to fix it,” said Warren from ParkEasy to Vulcan Post.

A damaged local municipal barrier (Image Credit: ParkEasy)

“Our barriers survive on the fact that they’re automatic, they actually withstand collisions with our automatic parking barriers tab. You can see a video of us hitting the barrier with a forklift, and that shows how the barriers are able to bounce back from impact.”

These automatic systems can be unlocked either using a remote, or using the ParkEasy app, depending on what their intended use is.

During a shop’s opening hours, the parking barriers deter unwanted people from going into their rented spaces. And then after that shop lot’s hours are done with, now everyone else with a ParkEasy app can reserve a space.

Pressing On Despite Controversy

The ParkEasy team

Parking is an area rife for disruption here in our oft-congested country, but the change has not been easy.

ParkEasy has unfortunately been called ‘kiasu‘ before when they just launched, and with this new expansion to Jalan Telawi the term ‘kiasu‘ was still being invoked in comments, though the venom behind them doesn’t seem to have as much bite as before.

The commenters that I saw appeared to have misunderstood the system that ParkEasy was trying to introduce. They perhaps assumed that ParkEasy was going to be buying out open parking bays, then force Bangsarians to install and pay on ParkEasy to give them money.

Instead, as previously stated, they’re only trying to open up bays that would otherwise close.

But even in the case of malls, where parking bays are blocked out for exclusive ParkEasy use, Warren paints a different picture.

“Our data in malls actually shows that the parking bays that we use actually has more users than other bays.”

“In IOI City, we can go as far as 6 turnovers (switch between old and new parker) which is kind of a high turnover rate. You can imagine that in a 10-hour day, 6 turnovers means that each person is only staying for 2 hours or so, right? Or less. What we find is that on average, our customers usually stay for 3 hours.”

IOI City mall also serves as an example—when adoption of disruptive technology is allowed to go underway unmarred by misconception, it seems like it can actually bring a lot of good to the scene.

“So I think reservation for some reason initially had a negative impression. But now that we have data, we can actually show the fact with the existence of a reservation system, people have an idea of what time they want to arrive, they show up, they shop, and the next person gets the parking. So actually, in a way, we’re making more parking spaces available.”

The automatic parking barrier isn’t the first version of parking reservation that ParkEasy has attempted. Like most startups, they’ve pivoted a few times over the years.

Their initial idea involved LED signboards, while a later version had them trying to match parking ‘leavers’ with a new ‘parker’.

And since they’ve brought automatic parking barriers out of IOI City mall and into Jalan Telawi, it seems like the team has settled on this physical barrier as viable parking reservation method.

ParkEasy’s previous LED system (Image Credit: ParkEasy

Disruption Marches On

They’ve gone through a lot of growing pains, but between reducing fixing costs for shop owners, allowing for more parking convenience, and making unavailable parking spots now available, disruption is quietly well underway for ParkEasy.

ParkEasy has plans to launch the after-hours parking concept in a few bays on SS15, and aims to hit everything else from universities, office lots, hospitals, and etc.

Ironically, it does seem like operating somewhat under the radar for ParkEasy has worked better for their disruptive tech and lets them bank on word-of-mouth from experienced users and businesses to bring them forward.

Warren did state that for their automatic parking barriers, some local municipalities might prefer that shop lot owners use their own issued barriers instead of the yellow one sold by ParkEasy, and that’s fair.

If ParkEasy is able to expand and be adopted in more places, these municipalities, like their clientele, might just reconsider.

Feature Image Credit: Parkeasy