Corner meets with Dan Hubert, the man who has just solved London’s parking rage…
You’ve just launched this neat parking app to help London drivers park minus the byzantine rules. How did the idea come about?
The idea came about when I was trying to park outside the Royal Albert Hall to go to a gig. The parking bay was all full and restricted until 10pm. There were miles of empty single yellow lines but everyone was too scared to park on them. I asked a passing traffic warden for some advice and he said I was fine to park after 6.30pm and that the Controlled Parking Zone time plate was two roads down. Not ideal! It was then that I thought something had to be done about this awful lack of communication between council and drivers.
What was your day job before AppyParking came into your life?
Before AppyParking I used to be an advertising creative at some of London’s biggest agencies. I spent 13 years solving other people’s problems and turning complicated client briefs into single-minded propositions. It’s in my nature to solve problems and in a rather strange tangent I applied these skills to the glamorous world of parking.
How many parking tickets had you had up until that point?
I was always really careful when parking so I only received a handful. What I hated most was the lack of information about a parking destination and the feeling of dread when returning back to my car to find a ticket.
It’s certainly one way to sock it to the much-loathed parking warden… that must feel satisfying?
This was never meant to be a two-fingered salute to the traffic warden. They are just doing a job and picking up the pieces from the local authorities that have neglected this issue for so long. What is really satisfying is that all 33 London boroughs are completely behind what we’re doing and see us as the answer to channel their data in a single user journey.
You allude to the parking horror stories that we’re all familiar with… what are the worst you’ve come across?
There are loads of horror stories. Being parked more than 30cm away from the curb. Having a wheel parked 1cm on a double yellow line. Being towed away because a parking bay suspension appeared overnight. I guess the one that annoys me the most are the fines given to Blue Badge holders who park unwittingly in Camden, Westminster, City of London and Kensington and Chelsea. These boroughs have different rules to the rest of the UK. Until AppyParking came about there was not one app that told disabled drivers what boroughs they are in and where is good to park.