Apps / Transportation

On-demand valet app Zirx is parking cars in Brooklyn first — Manhattan can wait

Zirx is among a handful of buzzy parking apps rapidly adding U.S. markets. CEO Sean Behr tells us why Zirx is starting its New York expansion in Brooklyn.

Zirx CEO Sean Behr. (Courtesy photo)

There’s a newcomer to the on-demand economy in Brooklyn. Since June, Zirx has been offering valet parking service in Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Vinegar Hill and Downtown.

For now, it’s the only app-driven valet service in Brooklyn. (ValetAnywhere currently serves a portion of Manhattan with its on-demand service. Luxe seems to be hinting at a New York launch.)

Zirx, like its competitors, wants to cater to people who don’t want to go through the trouble of finding a parking spot.

Here’s how it works:

People use the Zirx app to say when and where they want an “agent” to pick up their vehicle and park it. When they arrive at the indicated location, a Zirx rep grabs the car and heads to a garage where Zirx rents space. The agent then returns the vehicle whenever and wherever the client needs it. 

The company, which started in a garage in Sunnyvale, Calif., celebrated its first birthday last month, and Brooklyn is its sixth market. (Zirx is also in D.C.)

Zirx's Brooklyn coverage map. (Courtesy image)

Zirx’s Brooklyn coverage map. (Courtesy image)

Zirx is among a handful of buzzy apps offering on-demand valet service in the U.S.

Luxe, launched in October 2014 in San Francisco, currently serves five cities and is in expansion mode. Luxe isn’t available in New York yet, though it is launching in Philly in August.

Zirx CEO Sean Behr said he decided to start operating in Brooklyn because of its big population and because “it’s also a pretty difficult place to park,” he said in a recent interview with Technical.ly.

Zirx’s agents “go through a very thorough background check,” Behr said. They also get trained, usually for two weeks, he added, but the training process “varies a little bit” depending on which cities agents are working in. Behr said that every car Zirx parks is fully covered by a $2 million insurance policy the company is subscribed to.

Zirx has ruled out surge pricing.

Real parking pros, Behr says, tell the app they need an agent before they leave home. That way they don’t have to wait for their car to be picked up when they arrive. If someone orders an agent on the spot, Behr says the person should expect to wait about eight minutes on average.

Brian Gross, who used Zirx in San Francisco, had a different experience.

Gross wrote in the comment section of Zirx’s website that he had ordered an agent 30 minutes in advance, but when he got to his destination, a new valet was assigned to him and he had to wait an extra 40 minutes. Behr said that although Zirx tries to deploy its agents to reduce customer wait time, such glitches sometimes happen in the company’s algorithms.

Contacted by Technical.ly, Gross said that even though he thinks Zirx’s “execution is very bumpy,” the company has “great customer service,” adding that Zirx was prompt in responding to his complaint. “They’re well-meaning people,” Gross, who uses Zirx competitor Luxe now, said.

In the coming weeks, Behr said he expects the company to cover more neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and eventually launch in Manhattan.

Series: Brooklyn

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