If you drive to work in Fort Bonifacio everyday, you probably are aware of the difficulty of finding a parking space at most hours of the day. There are parking lots in the business areas of Bonifacio Global City and McKinley Hill, but they are either full or very expensive for people who drive to work in these business areas. Many parking lots charge a high fee of P50 per hour after the first three hours, so a full day's parking can cost over P340, a significant amount for people with monthly salary of less than P50,000.
Two solutions that make use of smartphone technologies are attempting to solve the parking problem.
One is designed by a guy who used to work in an office in BGC and experienced first hand how much time people have to spend on finding a parking space, not only at the beginning of the day, but during the day to move the car to another parking lot in order to save on parking fee.
Fetch valet service
Fetch is a valet parking service for people looking for parking in Bonifacio Global City. Fetch started providing service since end 2016, but launched its mobile app in February 2017. Initially, it has five pick up locations where car owners can drop their vehicle, and pick them up later: Net Lima, Net Park, Net Quad, Globe Tower, 9th Avenue Bonifacio High Street.
Fetch is well aware of the apprehension of car owners to leave their car to a stranger. They have put in some measures to alleviate that concern. For example, they engage a reputable manpower agency to vet and train the valet drivers. Even home visits are said to be conducted to know the families of the valet drivers. Unlike valet parking services of most malls, Fetch has purchased insurance for damages made by their drivers to the vehicles. They also will send car owners photo updates on where their cars are parked, and promise to park the cars in secured parking lots.
Photo above: Fetch founder Martin Luchangco explains the safety features of Fetch at the launch of its mobile app last February
They charge P45 for each pick up or delivery, and P15 for each hour of parking. The total cost of 9-hour parking is around P180, cheaper than many parking options in BGC.
Fetch's service used to be done through cell phone texting. With the launch of the Apple app, iphone users have the convenience of just tapping the phone to book the valet service, and monitor the parking status through images and interactive map in the smartphone.
We once saw a car driver leaving her car to a Fetch driver (in orange T-shirt) at the driveway of Net Lima and dashed into the building after handing the Fetch driver her car key. We do not know if she had done that before, but she looked nonchalant in leaving her car with the guy in orange T-shirt.
Dibz parking service
The other technological solution in the work is a platform that uses an app to match drivers to parking space. Dibz founders figured that in or near the places with high demand for parking spaces during office hours there are property owners that do not need their parking space at that time. For example, a condominium unit owner in BGC may work in Ortigas, so while she drives her car to and park in Ortigas, her own parking space is not used.
Photo above: Screenshot taken from Dibz.co
Matching demand to untapped supply is a very neat idea to the problem. Unfortunately, having a project that requires people to trust strangers in a country where law enforcement is weak and very difficult. Parking lot owners need to trust that the car let in to park in their space is not driven by crooks that use the opportunity to gain access to their building. We are told that Dibz is now working with parking building owners such as Ayala to try out their scheme in Makati.
One would think that if Airbnb can persuade unit owners to let strangers into their apartment, letting strangers park in their parking space should be a piece of cake. But Airbnb started in a place with good law enforcement. Property owners in USA feel safe that if visitors damage their property, they can get legal remedy. Not so in a developing country like the Philippines. We suspect that is why Dibz has difficulties in finding unit owners willing to participate, and it has now switched tactics by working with parking lots to meet the demand for parking, which is not a very exciting solution.
We first met the founders of Dibz, two cousins from Zimbabwe, at an event in Fort Bonifacio. They are two friendly and sincere people. The virtual office of Dibz is located in BGC. Unfortunately, it seems that they have not been able to build a foothold here yet, perhaps due to the lack of response from condo unit owners who are willing to partner with them. We hope that their Makati project will be the catalyst for their venture to take off.
Cooperation Instead of Competition
We actually think that there is a lot of potential synergy between the two companies. Yes, they compete for people looking for parking. But at the same time, Dibz can find parking spaces while Fetch needs parking spaces also. Dibz may be able to find parking space for Fetch's drivers. Or they can simply work together to offer clients more options.
Parking lots in BGC
If you are new to BGC and need to know where the parking facilities are, then the best place to look is our article on parking facilities in BGC.