Speculation, Keynotes, Pointy Headed Academics, Lost BMW and the Rest


Speculation, Keynotes, Pointy Headed Academics, Lost BMW and the Rest

Correspondent Mark reports in a message headed “Premature Speculation” that car sales in the U.S. in 2016 are the highest ever and feels that the death of driving and the rise of the autonomous car is greatly overstated.  My contacts in the parking industry have been saying that for months. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it will be coming, but folks will still want their own car and refuse to give up complete control of their lives just yet. If you really want something to worry about, the same article said the average price of a car in 2016 was just north of $35,000. Yikes.


Barter, Goulston, Houlihan. What a terrific group of speakers we have lined up for PIE 2017. I’m going to tell you what makes them terrific, but you may not like it.

These three have attained the zenith in their respective fields. They know what they are talking about. They are going to tell you about parking, your employees, and your organization. And its very possible you will find what they say unnerving.  I have met all three and they take control of the room.

Paul Barter is a professor in transportation and parking policy in Singapore. He has a number of blogs he updates daily and its original material. Whereas I read something by Paul and then comment on it, he comes up with the real thing. When you hear his two talks at PIE, you will be hearing years of experience trekking through some of the largest and not so large cities on earth, looking at their parking operations, and determining what’s good and what isn’t. You might be surprised as how your parking issues in Mid America relate to those in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania. Be prepared to think outside your parochial box and get great ideas on solving your parking issues.

Dr. Mark Goulston called us after he read the review that Astrid did of his book, “Just Listen.” He said he wanted to meet  “the gang” at Parking Today. We had lunch with him in our conference room. After an hour my head was spinning. When he walked in he looked like Steve Jobs, wire rimmed glasses and black turtleneck. He said he just came from a presentation when he channeled the famous entrepreneur giving his audience an overview of just how Jobs took Apple to its present level, and why it may not continue is meteoric rise. He taught us about Job’s  “Whoa, Wow, Hmmm, Yes”– and now I can’t get it out of my head. Mark is a ‘people hacker.’ In an hour he pretty much had the four of us present down pat. That hour is going to make a huge difference in Parking Today Media over the next year.

Michael Houlihan is the founder of Barefoot Winery. We had a skype chat with him and he immediately understood what we wanted and began to form a presentation for us. His experience comes from founding and growing one of the best know wine brands in the world and he now travels the globe sharing his success with anyone who will listen. He talked about marketing. Everything we do is marketing, he says. Whether you own a parking operation, are a city or university with parking, or manufacturer or supply parking equipment, you probably approach your market from a traditional direction. And that direction is most likely wrong. He said that he would like to title his presentation “You can sell more if you wear a funny hat.” It reminded me of a car dealership in LA, ‘Cal Worthington and his Dog Spot.’ Michael is funny, dynamic, and will give you advice that may just change how you look at your business.

I am so proud to have these three with us in March. Join us and find out why. www.pieshow.parkingtoday.com


Astrid over at Parknews reports that someone in the UK ‘lost’ a friend’s BMW at a rock concert in Manchester. Seems this chap borrowed the car, drove to the concert, parked, and then couldn’t find the car after the event. Knowing how these concerts go, I’m not surprised. However the deal was that the car was lost for six months. The article quotes the cop that found it that the parking fee will be around $7500.  My only thought was just how well was this lot managed that a car could sit there for six months and not be noticed? Sigh.

A ’study’ by Cornell University said that if New York City had 2,000 Uber style vehicles running on “Uber pool” then 85% of the taxis could be removed from the streets of Manhattan. Of course the Uber Pool vehicles would have to be 10 passenger vans which means that people would have to hang out with strangers and visit all sorts of places before getting to their Tony restaurant or club. Give me a break. Not only would New Yorkers never stand for that, but no sentient being would. The reason Uber works is that it is cheap, and quick, and takes you where you want to go. Leave it to the pointy headed academics to try to ruin another great idea.

Speaking of Uber, a friend returned from a Christmas trip and flew into LAX.  After she got her bags she had to go outside, take the escalator to the upper deck to catch Uber. She told me that when she passed the taxi rank there was no one waiting for a taxi (9 PM on New Year’s Day). However, when she got to the Uber/Lyft Pick up spot, there were 200 people working their phones, trying to contact their ride. She said it took 25 minutes for the car to arrive. I asked why she didn’t take a taxi – the fare would have been about $15 more but she would have been home an hour sooner. Forehead slap time. She didn’t think of it. Uber is locked into our brains.

Volkswagen Financial has acquired Pay by Phone. That’s the arm of Volkswagen that handles leases and financial dealings when you buy the car. I’m not sure what this all means in the end, but I can’t help thinking that one could buy a Volkswagen Beetle and pay for it by your phone. Now that’s convenience.

Condo owners in Chicago are renting out unused parking spaces that came with their condos Airbnb style. Seems like a reasonable idea to me. A company called ParqEx is connecting the space owners with drivers needing parking. A local wag noted that the City of Chicago would probably not be collecting tax on the spaces. I don’t think one should worry. The government seems to have an unerring ability to collect monies due. Even in Chicago.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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