But I thought that…

Technology can solve a lot of problems. It can certainly help in ensuring that revenue is properly calculated and collected in parking facilities.

Case in point:  The surface lot at my doctors’ office. It is a combination daily and monthly lot. The daily rate gets to $10 in a little over an hour. It supports an active hospital and two 5 story medical office buildings. One in, one out.

It had a ticket dispenser, cashier terminal, and card in/out system. Then one day about 18 months ago, the TD failed. They put a sign on it saying “pull ahead, cashier will give you a ticket (and push a button to open the gate.) Since the barcode dispenser no longer dispensed, the cashier terminal could no longer compute the fee so it, too, was replaced with a push button. I figured it would be repaired in a few days, at best.

Now, 18 months later, it still is a push button operation, reminiscent of those days when the cashier used a time clock and a cigar box. This place is run by a parking operator.

There is absolutely no way to audit the facility (seems the monthlies are let in and out by showing their hospital ID badge). Assuming the average ticket is an hour ($6) and there are say 300 customers each day, that means that about $1800 in cash is collected. It also means that the potential for loss is great.

Let’s assume a quarter of the tickets somehow find their way outside the normal process. That’s a loss of $450 a day or $9000 a month, or dare we say it, about $100,000 a year from a surface lot.

How long would it take to pay for a new PARCS system for that lot? Four months, Six months, certainly less than a year.

Oh well, how hard can it be to run a parking lot. I saw a bright red Lexus LS parked next to the attendant booth. I wonder who owns it?

Parking Technology is super — but it has to work.


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