BGC: Always full parking
One of the major reasons I don’t drive and refuse to buy a car is how parking in Metro Manila is a pain in the ass. I’ve worked in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for years, and I’ve always found it more convenient to just cab, and eventually, when they became available, take Uber and Grab to work. That way, I can get off in front of my building—in heels and with all my many things—instead of having to walk far, lugging all my stuff from wherever I parked. And I haven’t even talked about the extra hassle when it’s raining!
Even if I don’t drive, I know through friends, colleagues, and family who drive themselves to work, the mall, or to a dinner, that long parking queues and full parking lots are struggles that have become all too common. These create a myriad of problems from tardiness and low productivity, to exorbitant parking fees and enormous amounts of wasted time.
And now here comes the Fetch Valet Parking app, which will provide users a valet on-demand, so they never have to stress about parking again. Founded by Martin Luchangco, who used to work in BGC and so understands the pain points of BGC employees, Fetch Valet is an on-demand valet parking service that is the first of its kind in Manila.
The Fetch Valet Parking app can be downloaded from the App Store on iOS devices. The Android version of the app is set to launch in the coming months. Alternatively, customers can avail of the service by messaging Fetch Valet on Facebook Messenger or using the link m.me/FetchValet (currently on cash basis).
With a few taps on the Fetch Valet Parking app, you can request for a valet to meet you at one of their five pick-up points (pick the one closest to your BGC destination) as you arrive. They will check the condition of the car, and make sure it’s returned in the same condition. The valet will park your car in a secure lot nearby, and the app sends you a photo confirmation of your car at its exact parking location. When you are about to leave, the app lets you request for your car to be returned, and a valet will have it waiting for you when you get out. You can time your arrival and departure on the app, but they need at least 15 minutes’ notice to get you your car back. The valet who picks up the car will not necessarily be the one to return it. The valet who returns the car will then check your identification to ensure you are indeed the owner of the car.
Below are screenshots of how the app works:
The service is currently available in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), with five pick-up locations: Net Lima along 26th Street corner 5th Avenue, Globe Tower along 32nd Street corner 7th Avenue, Net Cube and Net Square along 3rd Avenue, and Bonifacio High Street. Service hours are currently from 7AM to 8PM, Monday to Friday, and they are soon planning to extend to 11PM. In case your parking goes beyond their service hours, they will park in the nearest lot to where you are and bring the car keys to you personally. You’d be glad to know they’re working toward turning it into a 24/7 service sometime this year.
The all-in parking fee of Fetch Valet, at just P45 for the pick-up plus P15 per hour (and P1 per 4min in excess of 60mins), has attracted many users to the service everyday, or every time they drive into BGC. Imagine, for two hours, it’s just P75 including parking fee and service. And for the full nine hours that you’re at work? It will only set you back P180, all in. Definitely cheaper than what a lot of employees who don’t have company parking have to pay, I’ve heard. And, you didn’t even need to look for parking and park your car. Plus, it’s a cashless transaction, just charged to your credit card.
Parking lot on Fort Strip, across Net Lima
Kelly Mendoza, a BGC-based employee, recalls, “I used to come to work early every day in order to secure a parking slot, then I would set an alarm for myself to move my car before the 4th hour. I’d have to do that two to three times everyday.” (They do this because of expensive parking rates per hour, in case you were wondering.)
Like Kelly, there are reportedly over 90,000 employees who drive to work and have to park in pay parking slots for at least nine hours at a time. “Now that I use Fetch, I don’t have to come in early [to find a parking slot], I don’t have to worry about moving my car. It’s really a huge relief.”
In case you were curious, Fetch also currently employs the moving-every-four-hours trick, but Luchangco says they are looking into partnerships with parking lots in BGC. And no worries: Every time your car is moved, you are notified, along with info on its new parking location.
Aside from office workers based in BGC, people who come in for meetings, lunches, and dinners in the area also have a similar problem. Artie Lopez, a start-up business coach, recounts his worst parking experience: “I was 30 minutes early to attend a meeting in BGC. There was a line at the parking so I just waited. But after a while, I started panicking because the line wasn’t moving. I ended up being an hour and 20 minutes late to the meeting. It was very embarrassing!”
Long line to a parking lot in BGC
Fetch Valet also understands the importance of security in their line of service. Luchangco says, “We are serious about the safety of the cars that are entrusted to us, and we have instituted several layers of security to ensure that users’ cars are always protected.” Among others, Fetch’s protocols include stringent selection, vetting and training of valets, tracking of valets through GPS-enabled devices (you can see where your car is parked and you can track it), secure parking facilities, and having insurance coverage to ensure Fetch will cover the costs in case any damage is caused by its valets—a departure from typical valet service, meant to make you feel more secure. In case you were curious, they have a P5 million policy with BPI Insurance. And in case you were wondering about the drivers, they are employees of a manpower services provider Fetch Valet has employed—these are full-time employees and not independent contractors.
Besides the areas, they are even exploring ways to improve and expand the service, based on the requests of some of their clients (i.e. bring the car to a carwash or to gas up). Let’s wait and see just what other conveniences Fetch Valet can bring Metro Manila car owners in the future!