Magazine

PT the Auditor

Validation Causes Problems

(and the Bronx Bombers vs. Parking)

I received the following problem in an e-mail from a PT reader:
The vehicle parks for 2.5 hrs and gets a validation from the shop. I have one individual who is abusing this. He drives out of the lot after 2.5 hrs, makes a u-turn and comes right back in with a new ticket to validate. Other local merchants that are part of the association, which also controls the parking facility, see this as abuse and want to put a stop to it. They don’t want to adjust any of the fee or rate schedules and want to implement a simple policy procedure to curb this.
This is the same as “meter feeding.” Since the individual is known, record his plate number when he exits the first time. If this is an exit cashier situation, simply refuse the validation on the second attempt when exit/entry times are relatively back-to-back and cite the original ticket/validation. Notify the merchant that it risks loss of validation rights for fraudulently validating tickets. You might have to “adjust” the validation rules slightly, saying that only one ticket can be validated for the same vehicle in a three-hour period.
Since this is a repeat person, either they are the merchant or one of his employees. Repeated offenses can result in a demand letter to the individual suggesting that:
• They are guilty of theft of service.
• They are no longer an invited guest to the property.
• Continued use of the property could result in a trespass violation notice being served or the vehicle being booted and towed at the owner’s expense (that doesn’t mean you will, but the threat sometimes is enough).
Since this is private property and a merchants association is involved, use peer pressure first, then look at the lease language as it relates to the use of the validation by the merchants.
There are a number of alternatives, but I think that peer pressure on the merchants would probably be the best way to go. They must know that one of them or their employees is taking space that should be made available for customers and hurting not only the store, but the entire association.
Build ‘em and they will come? Ah, no …
I have read with interest JVH’s Parking Blog posts concerning Yankee Stadium and the garages built there to “service” the Yankee games. A quarter of a billion dollars was spent, a number of spaces were built – and the expectation was that the monies generated from the garages would pay the cost of the construction and the operating expenses.
The developer there made a number of mistakes.
First, they didn’t do a proper survey of the local area. I know that area, and I knew that the existing inventory of parking spaces was more than enough to handle the people who wanted to drive to the game. Two large garages within short walks of the new stadium were seldom if ever filled. This meant that even if the new garages would fill during games (roughly 80 days a year), the rest of the time they would have few if any customers. Why park two blocks away if there is plenty of space at the location you are visiting?
Second, parking in the area was not all that expensive, for New York City. If the garages at Yankee Stadium wanted to charge substantially more than the surrounding area, they would drive customers into those local garages, or onto public transportation. The numbers showed that they needed to charge more simply to break even. But to break even, they needed to fill the garages.
Third, human nature being what it is, if the prices for parking are raised, many drivers will look for an alternative. Yankee fans aren’t stupid. They know that if they elect to park two blocks away and walk, or for that matter take a convenient subway or train, they will save enough money to pay for plenty of beer and hotdogs. It seemed that the plan was to keep prices low in the beginning and attract parkers, then raise them. As they raised them, the fans moved to different parking, or different transportation.
Fourth, non-game days: Let’s talk about the nearly 280 days a year when the Yankees aren’t playing at home. From what I have noted above, there is already plenty of parking in the neighborhood. No need to add more, except perhaps for game days. They built two garages, where probably just one would have been plenty. The second garage is closed on non-game days, and the first is underused. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict what was going to happen. People were going to park where it was cheap and convenient, and not in the Yankee Stadium garages.
If you want my guess, someone was blinded by Yankee glitter and the Yankees wanted the parking garages. So they were built, and the financial side of the process got completely ignored. JVH says the Yankees may be able to buy the garages from the development company at fire sale prices. And the folks that lent the money? Well, gee. Can anyone say taxpayers of NYC?
Woof!!

Article Abstract from December, 2010




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