Uber for Valet Parking Launches in Philly

Luxe has arrived, with a $20 promo.

Luxe has arrived in Philly.

Luxe has arrived in Philly.

Imagine circling a crowded Center City block for the third time, hunting for a parking spot. The lots are full, there isn’t a public spot anywhere to be found, and Philadelphia Parking Authority agents are waiting to pounce on any mistake.

So why not call a valet to pick up your car wherever you want? Now you can with Luxe, a new service that launched Tuesday in Philadelphia.

It works kind of like Uber — users download the Luxe smartphone app and set the place where they’d like to be picked up. Then a driver will pick up your car anywhere and store it in a secure lot. Later, Luxe will delivers your car back to you — even if you’re in a different location. The company says it costs about $5 per hour. It’ll even wash it and fill it up with gas if you pay extra. (Use promo code XOXOLUXE to get a $20 credit.)

Right now, the service is only available in Center City. A quick glance at the Luxe map shows that the pickup zone is from 12th Street to 21st Street (east to west) and from Race Street to Pine Street (north to south).

If it gets wide usage, Luxe should have reverberations in a few different areas. Fewer cars searching for parking spots means less traffic. It’s lower price point and convenience could lead customers to choose Luxe over traditional valet services — changing the way high-end restaurants and nightclubs view the service. Maybe.

Plus, it’s one more way for people to get jobs in the new “gig economy” where Task Rabbit, Postmates, Instacart, Uber, and other companies are hiring mostly part-time workers. (But beware, leading presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not convinced that the gig economy is good for American workers.)

Luxe is joining a Philadelphia parking landscape that’s rapidly changing. Here are just a few other parking innovations that have either launched or will launch soon:

  • Spot bills itself as the Airbnb of parking, allowing drivers to rent out private parking spaces by the hour. Parking spot owners set the price and the amount of time that a driver can rent a spot. The company expects a Philly launch by the end of the year.
  • The PPA is launching an app that will allow users to pay for parking at meters or in lots with their smartphones. It teamed up with Pango (a company that’s soon moving to Philly) to deliver the new app-based payment option.
  • ParkMe allows users to search for paid parking near their exact location and tells them how much they should expect to pay before they arrive. It also allows people to reserve spots in lots or garages.

Follow @JaredShelly and @BizPhilly on Twitter.