Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'd Like A Parking Spot For Two Please

The photo above was taken last week at a T/A in Pennsylvania.  Those yellow stanchions represent reserved pay parking spots for truckers.

There are 32 of them.  THIRTY-TWO.  At one truck stop.

The paid parking thing has become more popular over the last few years, and the reserved parking thing - where truckers can call ahead and reserve a parking spot - is even more recent than that.

I'm not a fan.  And it doesn't seem like too many drivers at this truck stop are either, because there are at least 32 of them who aren't opening their wallets.

Even though we never have a problem finding parking, there are nights when we pull into a lot where parking is scarce or non-existent.  If that's the case, we move on.  But it really bugs me to see a lot where the only open spots are pay spots.  And they sit unused all night.  
Ed says for the 18 years he's been out here, there have always been (and still are) truck stops where you have to pay to park.  But the "payment" came in the form of spending money at their facility.  Buying fuel, spending money in the restaurant or C-Store, getting service on the truck in the shop - if you met their minimum, you could park for free. 

In this blog post, the author makes some really good points about why parking shouldn't be free, that it's the cost of doing business.  But when he says, "I can't think of another mode of transport that gets a similar handout for their operational expenses.  Airlines pay airports all sorts of fees for landing and take-offs and tarmac fees for parking, etc."  my first thought was that although they may be paying tarmac parking fees, I'm pretty confident it's not the pilot of that aircraft who is footing the bill.

There have been a few new truck stops built where he says there haven't been - trying to illustrate that new truck parking spots are not being created - but overall I can see his point that there's more money to be made by putting some other kind of business in or by charging drivers to park than by hoping they'll come into the store to buy a bag of Doritos.

Right now it may not be such a big deal because it's a small percentage of parking spots, but I do think we're going to see more of it.  With the new Hours of Service and EOBRs on the verge of possibly becoming mandatory, drivers are going to have to know they have parking available to them before their clock runs out, and right now there's no way to guarantee a parking spot anywhere unless you arrive long before the witching hour when spots start disappearing.

Paid reserved parking may become the norm 
- because more and more people are using it, are thinking about using it, or are going to be forced to use it - and if that's the case, I see a parking accessorial fee in my future.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Desire A Snack Eaten Off An Owl Plate

2012: Pulpy Plumes
2011: Saturday Slow Down

2010: Let The Crazy Begin
2009: For Everything Thy Goodness Sends
2008: A Look On The Inside
2007: Free! Gratuito! Gratis! Ummm…No Charge!
2006: Life Giver vs. Indian Giver
2005: The Spaghetti Thanks You


Gil said...

Too bad a purchase doesn't give you parking.

The Daily Rant said...

GIL: In some places, they do allow you to park if you make a purchase. And many places will give you the first two hours for free - so if you can get your stuff done in those two hours, you don't have to pay. It's just another expense we have to incur, which can only be offset by increased rates. Which doesn't always happen.

Marlaina said...

I get it, why truck stops are charging. They can. And sometimes we use it and are happy (grateful) to pay, but I don't like it.

It's the truck stops property. It is entitled to use it as it sees fit, it wants to make a profit. TA and Petro are owned by a publicly traded company so the grow-at-any-and-all-costs is essential for keeping shareholders happy. And they are taking advantage of a growing problem, a shortage of parking with access to running water and toilets and they are exploiting it.

You are in a self-contained unit, you can park anywhere that has an off-the-street space. I do not have this luxury. I need to park where there are services.

We had to deliver north of Denver last summer. There is a shortage of truck parking, so anticipating a full-to-the-brim truck stop I called ahead to the TA in Commerce City. Lets just say MacGyver was against it, but relieved when we arrived and I told him we had a spot.

It's going to get worse. Taxpayer-paid Rest Areas in Georgia have signs that say no overnight parking. Why? How is that allowed? Where are these safety advocates who want drivers to be rested.

There is also a huge lack of decent truck parking around Atlanta which requires the pick up and delivery of millions of tons of goods each year.

So I guess I am saying that I am resigned to this new development, I will use it if it works to my favor, but it is another cost in my business that must be covered.