New service in Denver is like the ‘Uber of parking’

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DENVER -- Parking in downtown Denver and Boulder is free for the next two weeks with the use of a new parking valet-like service. It's available on a new app called BluCar.

Some call the new service "Uber for parking."

After downloading the app, the user summons a valet to pick up the car near Larimer Square, Union Station and Lower Highlands.

"I have to give myself an extra 30 minutes to get down here, because I spend 30 minutes driving around looking for a spot," said Aaron Mallenkow, who works downtown.

He joked that looking for parking is almost a second job.

"Yeah. It really is. It really is," he said.

There are 3,012 parking meters and 44,000 off-street parking spaces in Denver.

"Roughly 30 percent of all traffic is tied to people circling the block looking for parking. This helps solve that problem that Denver, Boulder and other cities have," BluCar co-founder Michael Dee said.

He said the BluCar app lets you pick a place to drop off your car in the three downtown Denver locations.

"You tap the app, the driver is there when you arrive," he said.

Those drivers wear bright blue shirts. They take your car and park it in a secure location. The driver is insured for up to $1 million. Then, they bring your car back to where ever you are when you're ready.

"BluCar is not valet, and it's not self-park. It's in the middle. What we call on-demand parking," Dee said.

The cost is comparable to parking lots and garages. In downtown Denver, it's between $16 and $17.

"BluCar adds a $5 fee on top of the existing valet fee. So, if  it's $12, with BluCar you pay $17," Dee said.

Some say it’s the cost of convenience.

"It's a nice piece of mind. I can keep on schedule. For me, with kids it's nice not having to walk very far with them," one Boulder mom said.

And sometimes worth the cost of a $2 meter.

"I've racked up probably 10 parking tickets," said Mallenkow, who cringes at the $25 fee.

Like Uber, you pay through your phone -- even the tip -- no cash necessary.

The service operates Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It will also be operating in Cherry Creek in a week or two.

And it only works on iPhones right now. The free offer runs through May 23.

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