Charlotte Airport has a problem — enough parking space but some lots are overflowing

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Charlotte Airport has a problem — enough parking space but some lots are overflowing

Its an old story. People simply act in their own best interest, no matter how much government would like them to do otherwise. At Charlotte Airport, They have nearly 20,000 parking spaces of which almost half are cheap $3 a day and the rest are $7 a day. Can you guess where most people park? And can you guess what the biggest complaint is at the airport?

Right – there’s not enough cheap parking. I also note from an article in the local paper that the management of the lots is a bit haphazard in that lots are sometimes closed even when there are spaces available. The airport, to keep costs down, fill one lot first and then open the second. They also "don’t try to fill every space".

So people drive by a closed lot and see empty spaces. Boy that pisses me off. It would seem that a couple of counters in the entrance and exit lanes, reset each night, could tell them when the lot was full, exactly. It might also help when dealing with audits, but I digress.

Lets see, if I fill lot "A" and then close it and move on to lot "B" I would guess that folks when parked in lot "A" will return first and begin to increase the number of free spaces in "A". A sign outside "A" telling people how many spaces are available (see previous paragraph) would give people a choice of whether to search for 10 spaces in 1000 or move on to Lot "B". Yes, it may require more shuttle drivers, but my guess is that folks wouldn’t complain about a $.50 a day hike in pricing to pay for the convenience.

I guess when one is used to paying $20 a day for long term, $3 seems cheap. And I know that Charlotte won’t bear such a price increase, or even close to it. But it seems to me that some creative pricing might be in order. Why not do a study and find out how long people actually park in the lot. Go for the average, say 4 days. Then charge $3 for the first 4 days and then increase the rate to $5, or $10 for days 5 and above. That would motivate people to take alternative forms of transportation if they are traveling for a longer period, open up space in the lots, and still ensure that those on short or business trips aren’t inconvenienced.

From the piece in the Charlotte Observer it looks like some of these ideas are being considered. Outside the box thinking is difficult when you are in the box.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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