A new business has entered the fold of parking options for students with hopes to provide close and affordable parking.
Parking Rebel is a new website created by three current and former UNC students: senior William Lewis, junior Tadros Ghanem and UNC graduate Colin Bergey. These students saw a rising need for affordable parking around campus and chose to pilot something to change it.
“Parking Rebel allows property owners and renters to make money off of their extra driveway space," Lewis said. "Sellers make money, students are able to get affordable parking and we all help each other live a little smarter.”
Lewis said he had a tough experience with parking over the past three years and didn’t want other UNC students to have to experience the same problems.
“I was living at a house, and there wasn’t enough parking so I couldn’t park there. So I had to get a spot through the city, and the only ones that were available were at the far ends of Chapel Hill, miles away,” Lewis said. “Every now and again, I’d park my car at my house, and a couple times a semester I’d get a parking ticket or towed.”
After having to pay $150 for being towed, Lewis came up with the idea of connecting with local residents and allowing them to sell parking spaces at their homes and apartments for students to buy. The business launched on Aug. 1, 2018 and since then has received many requests for parking.
“So far, we have 75-plus sign-ups in two weeks, and it’s been very heavy on buyer side. A lot of students are showing demand for wanting to use our service and that’s with very minimal advertising,” Lewis said. “It tells us that a lot of people just really need this service, whether they need to go home or have a way to travel to get groceries other than taking public transportation.”
This need is prevalent among UNC students, especially those who have nowhere to park at the start of the semester.
UNC junior Chris Harris said the availability of parking at UNC is fairly nonexistent except on weekends and only when there are no sporting events.
“During the week, I park at my parents’ house, which is 45 minutes away. And then on weekends, I find someone to take me home, and then I park in Venable or the lot across from my building if there are spots,”Harris said.
UNC sophomore Caroline Swanger said since she is currently on crutches and parks in a lot over a mile from campus, getting to post operation appointments has been a hassle.
“There isn’t enough parking to accommodate nearly enough people,” Swanger said. “I guess the thought process is with the buses and Franklin Street, there isn’t much need for a car because campus offers everything but not having one can limit your experience here.”
Though Parking Rebel is still in its early days, the creators said they are extremely hopeful and are even looking towards the development of an app. They want to make parking as affordable and simple as possible for all UNC students and hope to expand to more universities in the future.
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