Uber/Lyft, Cities, Parking Operators — Everybody Wins

Cities are complaining that Uber and Lyft are causing substantial congestion in downtown areas as they cruise waiting for someone to reach out and ask for a ride. I’m not sure just how long they cruise, but it can be more than just a few minutes. There are also issues concerning curb space where they pick up/drop off.

It would seem to be to their benefit to park, turn off their engine, and wait for the next call. It would save them money (gas) and would reduce congestion.  Also if they could pick up/drop off within a block or so of a passengers destination/location where it was convenient to all it would reduce considerable confusion during the ride sharing process. Seems like a win.

But if they have to pay normal rates to park, it would cut considerably into their profit margin so we need to make it cost effective.

Some cities have partnered with Uber and Lyft to help with the first mile/last mile issues. They have subsidized the cost to take commuters from home to the nearest train station. This mean that the commuter’s car stays in their garage and does not take space at the station, meaning that the rail line or the city does not have to build expensive parking. A definite win.

There are times during the day when Uber/Lyft drivers aren’t as busy as say during early evenings when folks are going to dinner or meeting for drinks after work. If they had a place, off street, where they could wait while they waited for a call, it would be beneficial for all.

What if parking operators could enter into a deal with Lyft/Uber drivers and the local municipality to provide space to drivers to wait, and even drop off/pickup. Perhaps the city could split the wait time cost with the drivers and the drivers could pass the amount left on to the rider. The parking operator could fill spaces that would otherwise go unused at a lower rate.

Technology could  be laid on that would enable the drivers to know where ‘waiting’ space is available and enter and leave the garages at will. The same technology could track and compute parking charges and sort out who pays whom.

The city benefits with lower traffic congestion and solves issues with curb pick up drop off worries, the drivers get a place to wait and save money on gas (and think of the environment), and parking operators get to fill some unused space.

Everybody wins.


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