We believe there are three main reasons why today we cannot have a stress free parking experience. Funnily enough, the cost of a parking space is not one of them. Not directly, at least. Read the full post to find the three things we need to address for a stress free parking experience.
Stories about car parking often sounds like nightmares. Everybody has terrible memories or reports to share of their past parking experiences. If you search for “car parking” on Google News, you get an idea of the type of narrative we associate with car parking in general. But why is it so? Why do we never talk about the time the parking enforcement officer turned a blind eye? Or the time a car left a perfectly suitable parking space empty just as we were driving by?
We are in the middle of a moving this week. Our new office will be in beautiful Lauttasaari (Helsinki). Needless to say, parking has been on top of our thoughts in the planning of the move. We found there are three main reasons why we are not having a stress free parking experience nowadays.
Parking is a time-intensive activity
If you are interested in the numbers, we’ve gone through them in this blog post. Long story short, looking for parking takes in average 15 to 20 minutes in the busiest cities. Car parking keeps us from what’s next in our lives. Meetings, friends, family, shopping. We invest a lot of time in parking, and the reward is to simply go doing what you were supposed to do from the very beginning.
This is a particularly good reason why we only talk about parking when things go awry. To have stress free parking experience we need to address this point with great urgency. By cutting the time we invest in car parking, we can alleviate the stress and turn the experience positive.
The threat of parking enforcement
It’s challenging to get real data on the scope of parking violations and their impact on drivers all over the World. According to this article, local councils in UK made £700 million from parking tickets in 2014. Estimates say that some councils get more from drivers than from taxpayers. In Toronto (Canada), it looks like 2.8 million parking tickets are issued annually (that is an average of one per every person living there).
To be fully honest, there are good reasons why municipalities and local governments enforce parking regulations the way they do. If a car is parked in a regulated parking space for too long, it could prevent another car from finding an available spot. Or if a car is parked where parking is not allowed, it could be dangerous for other cars.
Yet, parking enforcement is without a doubt a reason why a stress free parking experience is far from being a reality. And this links to third reason.
Unclear parking regulations
One of the reasons why drivers get a lot of tickets is that parking regulations are often unclear to them. A survey estimates that in the Nordics as much as 45% of drivers do not understand parking rules. Even in a city like Helsinki, you can find different parking rules on the same street. A recent article on Iltalehti goes through some of the parking signs you can spot in Finland that are open to interpretation.
While you are driving and looking for parking, you often don’t have a lot of time and attention to read the parking signs. Often drivers have to first park their car, and then check if they are allowed to park there. This adds stress to an already stressful activity. We believe we can find better ways to tell drivers if their parking is legitimate (and for how long).
Towards a stress free parking experience
These (and other) parking issues drive the design of our parking services. We relentlessly focus on the driver’s experience, and we want to give drivers the power to make informed decisions on where to park their cars.
Rent-a-Park is an example of how we want to do so. With Rent-a-Park drivers can:
- Reserve their parking space in advance, cutting the time invested in parking to basically zero;
- Avoid parking enforcement as the reservation is made directly with the owner of the parking space;
- Be informed about possible parking regulations in the area, by asking the parking owner before they even make the reservation.
Other services we are going to launch in the next few months go in the same direction. We are excited to be on the path towards a stress free parking experience.