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Technology & Entrepreneurship

A Valet Service For Downtown Parking Starts Friday

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City of San Antonio
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The City of San Antonio announced a parking partnership Friday that will bring valet service to the downtown area.

For years, parking has been identified as an obstacle to getting residents to come downtown. A new app called Virtual Valet will allow people to drop their car off at city pullouts, including one near the Majestic Theatre on Houston Street.

Chris Rockwell with Sovereign Services says this is a small departure for the company that usually deals with valet at hotels.

"This will be our first with our own app. We use some platforms in Houston that allow us to pick up and drop off anywhere, but they are very restrictive," says Rockwell.

With the app, people wanting to go downtown will pick which of the four drop-off points they want to use. This alerts valets to expect them. When they arrive, the valet parks in a municipal lot or garage. And when they are ready to leave, a person signals with the app, and a valet can bring it to customers within a half mile of the drop off, or they can pick it up at the drop off. Either way, it should take an an estimated five to 10 minutes.

The city offers access to their lots in exchange for 20 percent of revenue says John Jacks, director of the City of San Antonio's Center City Development and Operations Department.

Jacks says if the program proves popular, it could just be the start for this model.

"There's thought that this might be something that could work near the Pearl and maybe in the Southtown, depending on what's going on," says Jacks.

Currently the program will only operate Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Sovereign Services' Chris Rockwell says they anticipate to park around 200 cars each weekend. 

The app works on both Android and iPhone.