Uber and Lyft — Great idea or end of parking as we know it


Uber and Lyft — Great idea or end of parking as we know it

There are over 180,000 Uber drivers in the US. Plus a huge number of Lyft, Sidecar, and the rest. These companies aren’t just taking business from taxis, but they are also reducing the number of trips driven by average citizens who now find it easy and ‘hip’ to take Uber. Each one of those is a car that didn’t park in a parking lot at the end of its trip. (Uber sold $10 BILLION worth of trips last year.)

Business travelers who normally rent a car at the airport may find it easier to take Uber than pick up a car or take a taxi. More and more airports are allowing Uber and their ilk to pick up on the airport. Certainly it may be easier and cheaper to take Uber — the cost is less than a taxi, there is no gas to cover, and no parking fees to pay every time you go to a meeting.

There is a great article in the New York Times about ‘ubering” in Los Angeles. (Read it, you won’t see me put “Great” and “New York Times” often in the same sentence.) Many are forsaking cars and using Uber. Read about it here.

Yikes — what is happening. Is the parking industry going the way of the dodo and buggy whip.

It seems we are attacked from every side. Environmentalists want to do away with cars, period. Every government agency is trying to discover a way to reduce trips into the central city, without of course supplying an alternative. Cities are raising on and off street parking pricing, and increasing taxes on private parking facilities –  not a good way to entice folks to drive downtown. Now its Uber and Lyft. What next  – teleportation — “Scotty beam me to Third and Fairfax.”

I think we need to be concerned but not panicked. One of the benefits of Uber is that drivers can now drink without fear of a DUI or worse. How can the parking industry help that?  Ever consider supplying a driver for the return trip? I want to take my car and drive my friends, also have a few pops.  How much would I pay for that privilege. Partner with Uber — drive one way, uber back? I think its time we started thinking outside the box, or parking space.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to drive if someone can pick me up at my house five minutes after I called (texted) and drop me off at my destination for less than the cost of gas and parking. And vice versa.

How can we make parking so attractive that people will drive just to be able to park? They say no one goes somewhere for the parking.. Why not?  Ever thought about it from that point of view?

Of course not, we would rather grouse and complain about the inevitable. Companies that are nimble, think outside the box, see possibilities, use every bit of bandwidth and media available, will survive and thrive.  The others will not, at their peril.

Hire someone under 30, make them your VP of Innovation, and then listen to them. It won’t be long til the rest of us are too old to drive anyway.


Follow me on twitter @jvhpt



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John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. I think this is a fascinating and very much needed shift in transportation and I look forward to seeing how it shakes out. I don’t think any of us need be worried about losing our jobs – what it does mean is that you won’t need to build as much parking inventory into new developments. This makes construction cheaper, will increase the number of developments and density of such development which will drive more and more people to these areas. There is always going to be a need for parking spaces because some percentage of the population will drive.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve never actually been to Europe except for the Irish countryside once, but I understand that a VERY large portion of the population doesn’t have vehicles and takes alternate transportation. The parking industry seems to be alive, well and very sophisticated, so wouldn’t we look over there to see a bit more about what our industry will become?

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