Recently, I found myself in a situation where my day would end in a location where parking is in short supply. Instead of stressing or having anxiety about my circumstances, I decided to utilize TA Petro’s reserved parking facilities for an evening. I made a call ahead of time to reserve and paid the fee. I’m still not used to paying for something that I’ve always had for free however it was better than being stuck in a location and out of hours with no available place to park. On the other side of the coin, it doesn’t take long to spend $15.00 in time and fuel searching for that elusive parking spot. My situation made me think of the discussions our industry has had regarding the parking shortage.
What do you think about the parking shortage in the trucking industry? Is it real or just a lack of funding? Let’s say I give you $10,000 to use toward a parking spot for one night. At this rate, I could most likely find a parking spot location just about anywhere I wanted. Let’s reduce that figure to $1,000.00 to park for one night. Now… this figure would still allow me many choices in which to select and park my rig safely for the night. Now… let’s say I give you $100.00 to park for the night. Most likely the selection will still be adequate for you to find a good spot however not as many choices. Now… we’ll knock it down to $10.00. With this amount of money, your selection will look very slim. However, in the 10-15 dollar range, you can reserve a parking spot at most TA/PETRO locations. Let’s say you must now find a spot with no money at all. You are looking for a good, safe spot for free now. You might be lucky and find it… or you may not. For free… would you want someone parking a semi truck in your driveway? For $10,000 a night, I would let a driver park and even idle the truck. For that figure, I may even build a private garage for him/her to park inside.
The point I’m trying to make here is that there isn’t a shortage of parking, however there is a shortage of people willing to pay for parking. There is plenty of paved asphalt around the country in which to park and take our required rest breaks. You may ask… where is this parking? It’s in the parking lots at shopping malls, home improvement centers, strip malls, industrial parks and possible sport stadiums. I understand that many of these areas are off limits to trucks. There are even signs telling us “NO TRUCK PARKING.” The owners of these lots can use the same “pay to pain ratio” scenario when it comes to their property decisions. Asphalt is expensive to lay, repair and maintain. Add an 80,000 pound semi daily sitting on the surface of this asphalt and this owner has some costly expenses in their future.
In looking at the driver and parking shortage, they mirror one another from an economic standpoint. In both scenarios, there isn’t a shortage but a lack of monetary funding to overcome the “pain to pay ratio.”