Brandy and Charlie have Good Arguments, but Dan Tells it Like it Is…
We are talking about resetting parking meters when a customer leaves so the next person can’t piggyback. If you scroll down a bit you can see Brandy and Charlie’s comments on my screed on the subject. Basically I say that resetting the meters is bad PR and in an industry where we need PR, it probably isn’t the best idea…OK its a pretty lame position but I did get the ball rolling.
Brandy and Charlie give good arguments for resetting — new technology costs a lot of money and cities need to recover that money. Fair enough. Scroll down a few posts and read their comments. They are good.
They are good, if you live in a revenue driven world. I agree 100% that revenue should cover costs. And if resetting meters is the only way to do that, so be it. However other service oriented companies do similar things, but get browbeaten because of it. Airlines charge for bags, extra room on seats, food, drinks and in some cases water. They drive the cost of the actual service down but get you on the extras. When you go to the movies, what costs more, the ticket or the popcorn and coke?
If we are revenue driven, then super — lets generate money and ensure that we get it all, any way we can. But if our goal is to protect a resource, or change commuter habits, or obtain the true cost of the service we provide then we are going about it the wrong way, it seems to me.
It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what it costs to provide an on street space — real estate, paving, signage, maintenance, enforcement, technology, overhead, infrastructure, and the rest. Add it all up and show our public just what it costs to provide that 20 foot piece of real estate for them to park in front of the dry cleaners.
Then provide that money to the city to provide those services and take the left over and do something with it that ‘touches’ the space — better sidewalks, trees, parks, lighting, street fairs, etc etc etc. The PR problem would go away if people thought they were getting their money’s worth.
Most cities, however, take the money and slam it into that bottomless pit known as the ‘general fund’ and realize that be adding technology they can get 30% more by squeezing the parking public. They can’t raise property or sales taxes, so they have parkers pay the fee.
All that having been said, Dan’s comment on the discussion bears being brought into the light of day:
Yes, we want to stop piggybacking for the money, which is a common practice. Many rent and lease agreements are non-transferable, as are most tickets to events. You can’t finish someone else’s meal at a restaurant (ok now I’m reaching). The nice thing about multi-space is that the piggybacking goes away automatically. Politicians can call it an unintended consequence. With single-space you need to take the extra steps (and costs) of adding sensors, so you appear greedy – like the airlines charging for leg room and luggage. Why do they do it? The same reason we’ll reset the meters – because we can.
The last three words say it all.