Parking in London is a pain in the arse. As I drive an electric car, I'm spared the cost of the Congestion Charge, but I still have to stalk the back-streets looking for an available parking bay - or pay through the nose for an NCP space and hope I can squeeze in between the concrete pillars.
That's where London-based startup Vallie comes in. On-demand car parking in London for £5/hour - with a maximum charge of £25 per day.
Here's how it works:
- Use the Vallie app (Android or iPhone) to say where you want to drop the car off.
- The app tracks your location. As you approach the area, Vallie dispatches someone to pick up your car.
- Both you and the parker receive a password from the app, which you use to confirm your identity.
- Your car is whisked away by an insured driver to a secure car park.
- When you want the car back, use the app to say where you want your car to be dropped off.
- You get told how long it will be before your car is with you - and you can follow its progress in the app.
Nice and simple! Payment is handled in-app. They offer free electric car charging - so I received my i3 back with a full battery. They also offer paid-for extras like car cleaning and servicing should you need them.
The service is easy to use and really does take the hassle out of London parking. The price is also fantastic. A full day of Central London parking can easily cost £40 - £50, so Vallie certainly wins on that front.
The only downside is that they cover a limited area of London.
I'd like to see a bit of coverage south of the river - but as they're starting up, I don't feel too inclined to grumble!
Oh, one other nice touch, they left a Vallie branded air-freshener hanging around my rear-view mirror ?
Until we all get autonomous cars and jet-packs, Vallie is a great way to park in Central London.
You can use the code "terence-1010" for £10 credit on your first park.