I have been thinking a lot about the benefits technology brings to managing parking facilities and had begun to wonder if the job of running lots and garages was becoming obsolete. After all, with all the hardware and software we can throw at the problem, shouldn’t parking operations be running fast and clean.
Those of us who spend their time at trade shows and reading parking magazines may have lost sight of just how big the problem is. We see great technology applied with skill and maybe begin to believe that all is well in the parking business. And we are wrong.
Twelve hours in a Houston Hotel brought me screaming back to reality. I drove to the hotel and pulled a ticket. At the desk the clerk asked for the ticket and filled out a red hangtag. She then returned the ticket and tag to me. I found the next day that she had also put the charge for the car on my hotel bill. So far so good.
The next morning I left for and early breakfast. I waved the hangtag at the cashier in the lane and the gate popped open. When I returned an hour later I pulled another ticketand went to my room to pack. When I left for good I waved the red hangtag at the cashier and the gate popped open again. I left with the hangtag and two tickets in my possession.
If I were a salesman working the town, it would not be unreasonable to think that I might repeat the in and out a dozen times over a couple of days. And I would have a dozen tickets in my possession, in pockets, on the floor, in my wallet. Lets face it, that lot had no control.
When I told my story to my friend at breakfast, he mentioned that he was staying at the hotel down the street and it worked exactly the same way. We are two for two.
I won’t tell you the name of the national company that ran the garage, but its a household word in the industry. They had no control in the lot and no way of auditing the garage. And no one seemed to care.
So revenue control equipment manufacturers take heed. There is plenty of business out there for you. The problem is that you have to educate someone, either the operator or the owner, so they see the problem and then decide to do something about it.