Drivers circulating are not customers

I have been browsing in Linkedin Parking Groups (There are over 20) and found Parking It Here — A prolific blog by New Zealander Kevin Warwood. His Latest Money Quote:

It must be learnt that people circulating in cars are NOT customers,  they are just people circulating in cars in your car park because your car park is not efficiently run and it is acting as a bottle neck to your business.  Clearing out those who add less value is a sensible business decision.  High performance parking in malls is also a sensible business decision.

He did, however, bury the lead in his latest blog…You can read it here. I’m not surprised. He is pumping out articles faster than you can shake a Kiwi. And some good stuff, too. I commend his blog to you.

In this one, he comments that a mall owner was complaining about not having enough parking, but when Kevin researched the site it was discovered that the garage was filled with folks who weren’t shopping in the mall, but were local townsfolk and gasp employees.

Kevin set up an enforcement program and cleaned out the garage, but also caused a myriad of complaints that were sent to the mall owner, who of course wanted to have his cake and eat it too.

The solution is to charge for parking in the mall and set the rate structure so that a combination of time and validations can make it easy, cheap, or free for customers to park but slap such a penalty on that poachers will find somewhere else to park.

In the case cited, I believe that time was the limiting factor. So going in, people assumed that parking was free and when they were cited for staying too long, they felt slighted. However if a rate structure was in place so that they knew going in that parking was not free but was for the use of the mall’s customers and not everyone in the city, the reaction might have been slightly different.

However, Westfield in Australia has had a huge PR problem when they began charging at a mall near a train station. The locals were parking at the mall, taking the train to the central city all day, and filling Westfield’s parking, making it impossible for actual shoppers to find a space. When Westfield put in a rate structure, not only did the folks who were poaching complain, but so did the surrounding businesses as the poachers now moved out on the streets and took space for those customers. This argument has gone up to the state level with politicians getting involved and considering telling a private company (Westfield) what it can do with its property.

Somewhere, I guess in the Magna Carta, is a provision that parking must be free.  Sigh


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