Unlimited Parking On Street — Part III — Brandy Responds

I asked Brandy to respond and she did.  Far to important to leave buried under the Post so here it is, right out in the light of day. She is respond to the post below that says let people park on street as long as they want, just require a credit card swipe and then charge as they go. Rate structures could be set to keep people from staying too long ($2 for the first two hours, $50 for the next hour, etc).

So how are customers going to know what the rate structure is if they don’t have to do anything to pay for parking when they get to a space? You can’t post a complicated rate structure on a street sign – and to create the turnover you want, it needs to be more complicated.

What happens when someone gets charged $50 (or more) for parking in a space all day? Even if you did post it and it is their responsibility to read it, we all know how that works. There is a lack of consumer involvement in the payment process here, which reduces their ability to make the decisions we want them to make (i.e. get out of the space in a timely manner). I think that in order to make this work, you’d have to add a step into this process that requires the customer to authorize the start of a parking session, even if it is as simple as pushing a “yes” button on some device or on the GPS in your car. If you don’t have their authorization for each individual charge at the time of the charge, you’ll never make it stick.

I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of the phone or across the counter from this person waving their bill in the air and gesticulating wildly. And it wouldn’t be just one person, it would be a lot of them. And the media and the mayor and my boss and, and, and. And me out of a job quick.

Know how much of a pain in the rear end it is to deal with disputed credit card transactions? How much administrative overhead is involved in this – and associated cost? Credit card companies have the ability to yank money out of your account with no notice and no due process – one of the stipulations they stick you with to have the privilege of getting charged outlandish fees to accept credit cards. Even if you use another vendor and don’t go through the credit card companies, that vendor is still subject to these rules so all you’re doing is adding more administration to disputes.

On the GPS, you say that it is extremely accurate. Maybe I’m behind the times, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who says that GPS can get down to individual space granularity. If I’m wrong, that’s great and I invite anyone to clue me in, because that’s a huge step forward for this technology.

Hey Brandy, don’t hold back, tell us what you really think.  I can’t disagree with anything you said. You are on the front lines dealing with reality, and I’m hidden back here behind a computer screen.  As for the GPS — It is accurate to the inch. Well maybe foot. However the military doesn’t really like that technology to ‘get out’ so they let those with commercial usage get down to what 30 feet.  And you are right, 30 feet isn’t close enough. But this is a political decision, not a technical one. Give it a couple of years and Garmin will have you car located down to the width of a 2×4.  JVH

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One Response to Unlimited Parking On Street — Part III — Brandy Responds

  1. Keith says:

    The European GPS system – Galileo – is reputed to be more accurate when it comes on line in a few years. If one wants to use the GPS technology to ramp up rates, why not also keep the time limits and charge fines to the card or phone account after that limit expires? If many folks have the technology in their cars, that 85% escape rate goes down and revenue goes up.

    Adding to Brandy’s comments, I would suggest the resistance to change factor. Either we provide multiple forms of payment for on street parking – each taking its niche – or we cut some off and force change on folks who might not be ready for change. This doesn’t strike me as good customer service.

    Also, technology to charge fees is not the challenge, as Brandy points out. The challenge is to communicate the rate clearly before the customer agrees to pay.

    Also, if one wants to use the GPS technology to ramp up rates, why not also keep the limits and charge fines after the time limit expires? If many folks have the technology in their cars, that 85% escape rate goes down.

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