Keep Moving Forward: What We Can Learn From Uber

October 13, 2016


In the world of Parking and Transportation there are few issues as debated as "Uber" or other ride-sharing platforms such as Lyft, Sidecar, and Zipride.

For some, it's more than the industry's questionable legality that's a problem, but the unforeseen consequences on other industries. Of course it's impact on Taxi companies was something anyone could have guessed but some consider the potential damage to the parking market to be an equal threat. Many critics say that if people are ride-sharing, that translates into less revenue generated by a city's parking system. Others counter with the claim that if someone wasn't ride-sharing, they would find another way to commute that doesn't involve parking a car. At this point, I think it's probably too early to determine one way or another. 

One undeniable benefit of the "Pirate-Taxis" as some call them, is how their payment structure is shaped. It's a question of fixed versus dynamic pricing. 

In a fixed price system, management determines fixed pricing for each spot or zone. In many cases, there will be some flexibility to the program, for instance, offering reduced rates during times of the day with less traffic. 

In a dynamic pricing system operators can modify pricing on up-to-the-minute supply and demand. 

On the surface, you might assume that after operating long enough management would know the usage habits of their facilities and that's true, but utilizing a dynamic structure offers two distinct advantages.

  • The ability to increase rates as parking becomes more limited.
  • The ability to decrease rates in an attempt to persuade people to park and walk rather than drive around. 

One thing is for sure, as technology continues to advance, and those advancements work their way into the parking industry, we'll need all the advantages we can get our hands on.




Parking Management

photo credit: S.A. Street Photographer

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