Could Coronavirus Have Helped Solve the Parking Problem?
Facemasks. Social distancing. Lockdowns. The list of the ramifications that this tiny crown-headed virus has caused the world is extensive. However, it forcing the world to become significantly more technological may work in the trucking industry’s favor.
My Kingdom for a Spot
If you have driven a truck for longer than a week, you understand that the nationwide dearth of parking spots is an issue that deserves tackling. Studies from 2013 state:
- Thirty-nine percent of drivers admitted to taking an hour or longer to find parking.
- Eighteen percent of drivers use unsafe parking areas (on/off ramps and abandoned lots) often.
- Eighty-eight percent of drivers felt unsafe during a parking situation at least once over the course of twelve months.
Meanwhile, other industries suffered from the coronavirus. Malls were seldom used as people shifted to ordering online. Commercial buildings fluctuated in population as businesses moved to working from home to coming back to the office to working from home yet again. Even the trucking industry suffered from mass layoffs at the start of the pandemic, though it rebounded faster than most.
The Silver Lining
Trucking, like plumbing and electrical work, requires the person to physically be there and cannot be done remotely. Many businesses with jobs that can be done remotely have reported success in the transition, with many planning to keep a virtual workforce. This means fewer people driving to work, and less cars parked at malls and offices with spacious parking lots, leaving room for larger trucks to park instead.
There would be a lot of background work to be done to get this to work: one possible solution is subscription passes that larger, nationwide businesses with large tracts of land can sell to fleets. For a rudimentary example, Westfield Malls could charge a fleet two dollars per driver per month to have overnight parking from 11 P.M. to 11 A.M., hours when operations are slow or nonexistent, at any of its 24 nationwide stores. The same could be done for real estate magnates.
Fleets pay less than a dime per day, truckers are safer at night and spend less time looking for parking, and landowners make passive income off of volume. Everyone wins!
During the peak of the pandemic, fewer four wheel automotives on the road relieved truckers and made their jobs easier. Now, it may be the time to do the same for when the truck is not in motion. With many businesses keeping the transition to working from home, many more parking spots will go unused, which is perfect for trucks to employ instead.
The truck parking issue is too big and too glaring to simply wait for a truck parking bill to pass through Congress, fleet owners and landowners can and should work together to negotiate resolutions.
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