The Lesson from “Parking Wars”

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The Lesson from “Parking Wars”

As I wrote the post below and went back and reread my original post and the related comments, I came across this:

But, showing people paying their tickets in an orderly fashion would not be good reality TV! Of course, the producers of Parking Wars will show all the ‘ugliness’ of parking enforcement. As someone wise once told me – ‘parking is a grudge cost’. It’s difficult to make this industry into a bed of roses when customers pay us because they HAVE to!

So, what isn’t mentioned in your post is how much the City of Philadelphia is being paid to be on Parking Wars? If the Mayor does not watch, I bet he still cashes the checks from the Parking Wars production company. Food for thought. 🙂

Consultant and Trainer Lynn is absolutely correct. We have a huge PR problem. People love to hate parking, parking charges, parking tickets, parking enforcement, and the like. What to do, what to do.

First we need to start treating parkers like customers. I heard a story today at lunch about a parking enforcement officer in a Colorado city who saw a woman walking out of a high end store with her arms full of packages. She had just dropped a bundle. Her meter had just turned to red. What he wanted to do was go over, help her with her packages, and quietly mention that maybe she could put another coin in the meter next time. What he was required to do by his boss, who was tasked with filling the city’s coffers, was write a citation.

This officer had the right idea. That woman probably just paid more in sales tax than the ticket was worth. But the bad taste might be just enough to drive her to the new Tony mall outside of town and her business is lost forever. He wanted to treat her like a customer, not a scofflaw.

We must change our attitudes before we correct the “Parking War” problems. They have to change from the top, not the front lines. Most of those on street are faced with this issue every day: Quotas from the boss, sensible enforcement staring them in the face.

What if, when an enforcement officer came across the situation above, they issued a “Thank you for your Business” citation that listed all the things the money collected from parking provided. Let our customers know what they are getting for their bucks, more than just a parking space, although that is important. Explain how charging for parking ensures that there will be a space when you need it. Show how enforcement is important so those employees in the area don’t take all the spaces needed for customers. Show how the money paid for the new sidewalk, street light, or extra police patrol. How about a contest and randomly pick a parker to receive a free whatever and get it in the paper. I could go on and on.

The Enforcement folks in Philly are actually very professional and patient. But maybe they need a few more tools in their bag.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Certainly have the right idea. Itwon’t matter how you treat the parkers because the culture in the city of Philadelphia is one of doing whatever they want and then when you hold them accountable, you are the menace. I have seen episodes wher people park in clearly marked ares and when the ticket is written they go crazy. Or when the meter is out, No time left on it, Somehow the parker thinks you should let them slide. That is the culture is in this city and I have tried to change it. You will go crazy trying!!!!! Believe me!!!

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