If we handle it right.
The Uber/Airbnb concept, a web company that can put together people who have a service with people who need a service, is here to stay. There is nothing we can do about it. Or is there.
Cities are beginning to use these services to help in various ways. This Article describes how the companies are providing services often at no charge, when needed. During emergencies, like Hurricane Sandy, Airbnb members offered lodging free to those whose homes were damaged; Airbnb also used its network to pass information about emergencies to thousands of homeowners and renters.
Uber is working with Amber alert so that its drivers receive the alerts and are on the lookout. In addition in some cities, they are offering free rides to jurors. The cities usually pay for buses but often the rapid transit doesn’t go where people live. Uber does. Seattle, for instance, is surcharging 10 cents per ride and the money is being used to help Uber drivers defray the costs of wheelchair accessible vehicles. I understand that Uber will even go to the store and do your shopping. My assistant had to get some medication for a sick cat at 1 AM. Uber took it for her. Saved a ride after midnight.
This only scratches the surface of how cities, companies, and organizations can work with Uber/Airbnb type services. But what about parking? I have been told that some off airport parking operations are looking to use Uber to take car owners back and forth to terminals. Its a beginning. I don’t know how it works or if it works, but its thinking outside the box.
How about some brainstorming.
- What if I drove to a meeting downtown and then went out for drinks afterwards. I shouldn’t drive home. The parking operator could have an agreement with Uber to facilitate a ride home, and then back the next day to pick up my car.
- What if a company could use Uber as a carpool. None of the employees in the pool would have to drive their personal vehicles and Uber would handle the transportation each way. Car pools typically get reduced parking rates. Why have to bother with them?
- The parking operator could offer Uber type services to parkers who have their cars in for repair or who need short term travel to the doctor or other appointments. Its a hassle to park at each end. Why not leave your car at work and Uber to such meetings. The parking operator could coordinate and receive compensation for that activity.
- Let’s say I’m the designated driver and park in your lot. Unfortunately I belt back a few and not cannot drive. Why not provide Uber to handle the problem? And get additional parking fees.
People still want to own and drive cars. But there are times when driving is inconvenient. Why not offer an Uber style service in those times, and still have a person park in your garage.
The idea is to get your company in the middle of the process and get paid for it. Granted Uber users have smart phones and an Uber app, but what if they don’t? They know they can go anywhere there is an Uber logo and get a ride. You as an operator can use your app, pay for the ride, and charge the rider the price of the ride plus a surcharge for handling the transaction.
Could Uber pick up kids from school and bring them home? Moms wouldn’t have to queue up outside the campus to get the kids. Perhaps the same drivers would have to be involved in this one.
I got that list by sitting at my computer for five minutes. I’m sure creative parking owners and operators can come up with dozens of more ways to use Uber type services, and get paid for doing so.
Make parking easy and more convenient, offer the Uber service to those that need it, and pocket the profit.
Or you could do nothing, whine about Uber, and end up beside the road. Parking isn’t going away. But it is changing. Be a part of the change.