With the state government's promise of providing hi-tech parking facilities in the Central Business District of the city unfulfilled since 2013, it's no surprise that cars are parked on pavements, bus bays, and even roads in the commercial areas of Bengaluru.
In 2015, close to one-third of registered traffic offences in the city were parking violations.
Parking is now such a daunting task, that people are often forced to change their plans in fear of not managing a parking place.
Facing the same issue, two brothers- Arjun and Balram Jairaj who had just then returned from abroad had an idea to counter the challenge.
They thought what if every unutilized private space could be used to solve this crisis. Coming from a real-estate family, they thought what if owners could also generate some revenue from their idle assets. They thought a virtual marketplace of parking space providers and drivers would solve the problem.
The idea translated into an app when the two brothers met technologist John Seemon through one of their mutual friends and they collaborated to make Plonk in early 2015. The app was made available for users on January 27.
“Plonk is a real-time parking app which users can download on their phones and with the help of Google Maps, one can find the nearest Plonk registered parking space along with the rates and user feedback from previous users of the facility,” said Balram.
“We want Plonk to be a community of car owners and space providers so that parking becomes an ancillary to people’s plans,” added Arjun.
This means parking slots can’t be pre-booked by users. However, owners listing out space have to pre-list the spaces mentioning the time frame and the capacity of their lot.
Once an owner lists their space, the Plonk team does a field check and sticks QR codes on the entry and exit points which serve as a modern day register.
“We respond to listing requests within a day’s time and give the owners choice of both cash and cashless payment methods,” said Arjun.
“We give the owners complete freedom on pricing and timing,” said Balaram.
So how exactly is the app real-time?
When a user makes a decision to park into a Plonk listed spot, they scan the QR code with their smartphones and pay with the integrated Paytm wallet for cashless transactions or cash if there is a person manning the space and the app reflects real time every time, a slot is taken or vacated.
The app currently operates in the Central Business District of Bengaluru.