Sick of Transit? This App Boxcar Offers a Cure

Described as “the Airbnb of parking,” Boxcar represents more than 250 parking alternatives in 15 cities across New Jersey.

Joe Colangelo (left) and Owen Lee.
Joe Colangelo (left) and Owen Lee.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Houston/NJBIZ

“Commuting,” says Joe Colangelo, “should be the best part of your day.”

For many New Jersey commuters, that’s not the case. Even securing a parking spot near a local train station or bus stop can be as taxing as the trip itself.

Colangelo knows this well. His hometown, Cranford, is one of more than 75 in the state that has a waiting list for commuter parking permits.

Cue Boxcar—an app Colangelo launched in May 2017 with his business partner, Owen Lee. The app connects commuters with individuals and businesses that have unused parking spaces near commuter hubs.

Described by Colangelo as “the Airbnb of parking,” Boxcar represents more than 250 parking alternatives in 15 cities across New Jersey. Through the app, commuters can rent spots in commercial lots, private driveways or train stations on a daily basis. Spots run $2-$10 per day, depending on convenience. Property owners keep 75 percent of the fee.

The app has thousands of active users, says Colangelo. Some parking locations earn up to $2,800 per spot per year, he says. “A church, for example, would be a perfect candidate,” says Colangelo. “It uses parking on Sundays, but not during the week.”

Colangelo, a former naval officer, is well versed in entrepreneurship. In 2010, he founded a craft brewery in San Diego. Lee, who lives in Jersey City, worked in finance; he serves as Boxcar COO.

Boxcar also offers weekday chartered luxury bus trips to Manhattan through the app. One line serves Chatham and Madison. A second runs from Westfield and Cranford. Seats are guaranteed.

“We put the community in commuting,” says Colangelo. “When you’re parking in someone’s driveway every day or riding the bus beside your neighbor, people tend to be really pleasant.”

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