Show Me the Money

The owners of FlightCar, a service that organizes the rental of private vehicles from airports, have just scored a $13.5 million investment deal with GGV Capital. The money will be used for expansion to Seattle and other airports.

FlightCar offers a simple, symbiotic process for travelers who need to leave cars in airport parking and those who need to rent cars while away from home. Car owners sign up with FlightCar and leave their cars in the company’s lot while they travel. Renters, pre-screened by FlightCar, designate the class of vehicle they want and pick it up at the airport. Owners avoid parking fees and get paid for the use of their cars.

CEO and co-founder Rujul Zaparde recalled to VentureBeat that he was sitting with co-founder and president Kevin Petrovic in the winter of 2012, talking about Airbnb. “If your most valuable asset is your home,” he said they reasoned, “the second is your car.”

It’s a fascinating idea, this company that runs on gasoline and trust. I don’t know a lot of people who’d be willing to lend out their cars to total strangers. But FlightCar is making it work and has the investment interest to prove it.

Read the article here.

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You Won’t Read this in the Main Stream Media

Well, maybe in the New York Post — The entire article is here.

The gist is that climate weenies like Leo DiCaprio are railing against “climate change” and making movies and leading seminars about the impending destruction of the planet.  The problem is that he is not a scientist, and is simply wrong.  Here is the meat of the article:

And the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change lists thousands of scientific papers that either debunk or cast serious doubt on the supposed “consensus” model.

Oregon-based physicist Gordon Fulks sums it up well: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”

Consider:

  •  According to NASA satellites and all ground-based temperature measurements, global warming ceased in the late 1990s. This when CO2 levels have risen almost 10 percent since 1997. The post-1997 CO2 emissions represent an astonishing 30 percent of all human-related emissions since the Industrial Revolution began. That we’ve seen no warming contradicts all CO2-based climate models upon which global-warming concerns are founded.
  • Rates of sea-level rise remain small and are even slowing, over recent decades averaging about 1 millimeter per year as measured by tide gauges and 2 to 3 mm/year as inferred from “adjusted” satellite data. Again, this is far less than what the alarmists suggested.
  •  Satellites also show that a greater area of Antarctic sea ice exists now than any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. In other words, the ice caps aren’t melting.
  •  A 2012 IPCC report concluded that there has been no significant increase in either the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events in the modern era. The NIPCC 2013 report concluded the same. Yes, Hurricane Sandy was devastating — but it’s not part of any new trend.

The climate scare, Fulks sighs, has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus.” He’s right — and DiCaprio’s film is just another vector for spreading the virus.

If you want to ensure a tummy full of acid, read the article and note the amount of money that is being wasted by the government on projects that are failing, and according to Bjorn Lomborg, who actually signs on to some of the global warming hysteria, will make no difference anyway.

Lomborg has been railing about this for years.  If we were to take the trillions being spent by governments on projects that will make no difference, and invest it in clean water, healthy food, electrification and sewage abatement in the third world, millions of lives would be changed, forever, for the better.

But that doesn’t give Leo his “good optics.”

JVH

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The Dog Ate My Homework…

That is the timeless excuse whether you are a tenth grader trying to get a few extra days on that book report, or the IRS explaining missing emails. I have always that it was a bit lame. Why not just fess up. After all, the teacher had heard it all before.

I had a similar experience the other day that brought this little excuse into focus. As you know I wear hearing aids. And love them. I had taken them out and laid them on a towel and forgot about them. A few minutes later I dried my hands.

When I went to put the electronic marvels back in my ears I couldn’t find them. I searched everywhere. Then I stepped (Barefoot) on something that felt like broken plastic. Yep, there they were, in a million pieces, with definite doggy tooth marks leading to the culprit.

Suki didn’t eat them, she just chewed them up and spit them out.  The hearing aid company didn’t like my excuse any better than my 10th grade teacher. I had to pay the insurance deductible and then be told that if I wanted more insurance, I had to sign up and pay again.

An expensive lesson. With certain things, like taking pills and dealing with glasses, hearing aids, and cell phones, keep a constant routine. Trust me, when you step out of your routine, its possible for disaster to strike, even in the form of a four legged long nose…well you know what I mean.

JVH

 

 

 

 

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Wow! Parking Technology Today is HOT!!!

Our New Magazine, Parking Technology Today premiers in mid October and I am looking at some early proofs now and it is super.  Not only is the writing solid and the articles interesting, but Art Director Shelly Brown and her crew have come up with a new look for the magazine that is simply wonderful.

We are plowing new ground in this issue, as we not only have original work by experts in the parking technology field, but we also have promotional articles (they will be so noted) written by or for some technology based companies. Normally in PT we don’t print such pieces as they are often blatantly self serving. However I have been convinced by some of these companies that such promotion is good for their marketing effort. So be it. if Forbes and Business Week can do it, why can’t we.

We have new headline styles, larger and brighter layouts, and … well, you will see.

When you ask why we don’t go all out with PT on every issue consider that we starting designing and laying out PTT three months ago. This is a long and complex process. We will be lucky if we put two of these out a year.  Shelly has brought on a new person to do nothing but PTT, and we are finding such design over 68 pages is very time consuming.

Look for Parking Technology Today in your mail box in about four weeks.  Then let me know what you  think.

JVH

 

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Is Parking Becoming Boring?

I have been spending quite a bit of time on Parknews.biz lately looking for ideas for blogs. I can jump on a few of them (Parking Sensors fail in Walnut Creek, or a neat story about Near Field Communications) but I wondered that you might be bored with all that. Blogs can get boring — its often the same old same old.

Check out political blogs whether you are right or left, rich or poor, liberal or conservative there are blogs for you. The problem is, at least as I see  it, they are the same thing, over and over and over. Different words, same story.

After pondering the problem, I have decided to begin blogging about things that may interest, but aren’t the same old thing, blog after blog, week after week. Some will per personal, some focused on PT and PIE, some will have some  bite to them.  Hopefully they will interest you, and if I’m lucky, they will make you think.

Astrid as begun a program on Parknews.biz to put a pithy quote up each day.  Today it says:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

That’s it.  I’m going to the beach.

JVH

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How can this possibly be?

I had lunch the other day with an auditor and we were laughing about an incident that happened in the Parking Today world about a decade ago.  I had in this space made a statement that I knew an auditor and he told me that in virtually any garage, on any given day, he could do an audit and find a minimum of 10% of the monies missing, and in fact he couldn’t remember when it was less than 25%.  He added that of course there were exceptions and were some very well run garages but he likened that to hen’s teeth.

I was inundated with complaints from operators calling me every name in the book and threatening my existence. I took up the gauntlet and offered a free audit on any two garages that the operators ran. If we didn’t find any issues, we would pay for the audit, if we did, they would. Of course any result would be published in PT. The result — crickets.

A decade had past and millions if not billions of dollars of technology has been brought to bear on the parking industry. I asked my auditor friend if it made any difference.

“Sure,” he said. “In some garages the managers and their supervisors use the technology and track every transaction. But then. Some of them did 15 years ago. As far as operations go, very little has changed.”

He admitted that the pervasive use of credit cards had lowered the amount of cash in play and that in itself had made a difference, but he also talked about the attention paid to contracts with monthly parkers and if cost of living increases had been made. Were there side deals with the valet companies across the street to park cars in the garage, and then he laughed and asked if there was a health club nearby.

He said that although we have the technology to lock garages down tight, do we really do it.

He reminded me of my drive through bank. I drive up to the window, make my deposit, and then drive through the lot to the exit lane where the cashier uses an access card to open the gate and let me out when I waved my bank receipt at her.

The garage had a very high tech system, but a hole you could drive a ….

In the end, it goes back to management and supervision, technology be damned.

JVH

 

 

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Are Parking Meters the Next Buggy Whip?

I was interviewed today by the Kiplinger Group. They are doing some research on the next 10 things that are going the way of the dodo. They wanted to talk to me about Parking Meters.

They are located in DC and Pay by Cell has been very successful there. They noticed that single space meters were being replaced by meters with credit card readers and multispace pay and display machines.  So, they asked:  Are parking meters on the way out, and within the next 10 years will they be gone, like the fabled buggy whip?

I told them that as technology has inundated the parking industry, many devices have been shown the door.  When was the last time you saw a time clock in a parking booth, or an honor box, or for that matter a parking booth, or an insert card reader. What about hand written parking tickets, or for that matter, meters that require you to turn a crank to post the time. What about parking lots covered with dirt, or concrete barrels used in place of a “Denver Boot.”

Wait!!! We see all those things still alive and well, probably in more than half of our parking operations. Many have been replaced, but many have been simply upgraded and the operation carries on. So maybe we aren’t becoming techno wizards quite as quickly as we think.

I know that IPS has hedged its bets by expanding its smart parking meter line to include Pay and Display/Space.

So what did I tell Kiplinger?

Its simple — technology moves on — We don’t fly around the US in DC3s, nor do we talk on cell phones the size of Max Smart’s loafer. I don’t think you can buy a ‘standard’ TV at Best Buy or Costco, they are all flat screen. The parking industry is similar.

There are many changes going on, and many new technologies being brought to bear on parking. However the basic things are still there and will be for some time. Pay by Cell will not replace some type of meter for many years. “Connected” cars won’t replace pay by cell for what, a decade.

But I know that all these technologies are bridge technologies.  They are getting us across a canyon and filling in until the next technology comes along.

What will it be?  Here’s my best guess:  One day, all cars will have an internal gizmo that identifies the car and its location (can you say GPS) to a satellite monitoring such things. When the car parks, whether in a structure, lot, or on street, the “system” will know all about that spot.  Whether its legal to park there, how much to charge, and how long you can park. You will be notified by your onboard display as to all this information. When you leave, your account will be charged for the parking. If you overstayed or parked too near a fire hydrant, you will be mailed a citation, your account already having been charged for the infraction. Bern Grush call your office.

Of course that assumes transporters haven’t been invented yet.

JVH

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Drive Up Donations

Just when you start to think the world is a dirty, ugly, awful place, you read about parking meter donations raising $8,500 for the homeless. In San Luis Obispo, reports kcbx.org, special parking meters places throughout the city give residents and visitors a chance to help those in need by simply donating while they pay for their parking.

The meters are part of a pilot program called Change for Change that goes through April 2016.

The meters are also meant to help discourage people from donating directly to panhandlers: they are printed with the slogan “Change for Change – Handouts Don’t Help.”

The money collected was recently presented to the Friends of Prado Day Center by the City of San Luis Obispo, the Downtown Association and United Way.

Read the article here.

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Mea Culpa

Editor’s note: Sometime-PT Correspondent Jeff Pinyot, President of Eco Parking Lights, posted a commentary on the IPI website (Parking Matters: The Blog) that piqued my curiosity. He seems to, relatively successfully, hold both sides of a controversy. Here’s his blog posting without IPI editing, followed by my comments. JVH

In the September issue of Parking Today, I reprinted a commentary by Jeff Pinyot with notes (above) that some may have considered a negative bend towards the editorial process of the IPI. I in no way intended it to be received in that manner.  I simply reprinted Jeff’s original editorial as it was originally written before editing by the IPI as I felt it gave me more material to comment on in its longer version and if compared with the original blog readers would understand that I was working off an original version supplied by Jeff.

I am sorry if any of the IPI management, board, editors, or membership felt put upon by my comments above. Mea Culpa

JVH

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Is All Parking Local?

The late great Tip O’Neill, political powerhouse from Massachusetts, claimed that all politics were local. He had a point. people tend to vote their pocketbooks and there is nothing more local than your bank account.

I attended a local parking event here in LA last night. It was a ‘mixer,’ sponsored by a local parking equipment dealer, Sentry Control Systems, and put on by their Marketing Manager, Whitney Taylor, a dynamic powerhouse of the “rising tide raises all boats’ mode.

Anyone in the parking business was invited and about 60 showed up. The adult beverages were consumed, h’ors oeuvres were eaten, and conversation flowed. There was no real selling, just an opportunity for people who were competitors during the day, to put aside differences and chat and gossip. Whitney does this quarterly.

While there I ran into Julie Dixon of Dixon Resources Unlimited. She told me about a seminar she held in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. It was about parking meters. She invited the local cities to send whomever they wanted and expected about a dozen attendees. Over 50 turned up.

A friend of mine in the business was at Whitney’s event last night and said — “Wow, this is great, the local LA Parking association should be doing this.”  I smiled. I knew why this was successful.

Whitney. She doesn’t have an organization, a membership, a group, an agenda (well maybe a little one). She knows that if she can get 60 or 80 people together to talk for a few hours in an evening, she is successful. And if she meets someone that perhaps could buy her product, so much the better.

Most of the work done in organizations like the IPI, NPA, CPPA, MAPA, and the rest is done by very few people. There aren’t a lot with the energy and focus of a Whitney Taylor.

Another reason for Whitney’s and Julie’s success — it was local. These are events for people in LA or San Francisco. They aren’t sponsored by an organization in DC, or a Magazine a thousand miles away.  They were local, and the people with their boots on the ground could attend.

More power to Julie and Whitney and others who sponsor these types of local events. They make a difference. Tip O’Neill knew that. For all its grand organizations, all his huge companies, all its high tech service, in the end parking, too, is local.

JVH

 

 

 

 

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