It started in a place where few felt comfortable: the noise, the stench, the unsavoury characters, the evening shadows as the place started to empty – and the compulsion to get out as quickly as you could. And no – we are not talking of Wuhan’s wet market.
I really love this introduction to parking as a service by Rob Brown from Kerb. “If the Coronavirus has reminded us of one thing, it is that hygiene matters and that we should tread with caution into unclean environments. Will car park operators suddenly need to raise the bar on the cleanliness of their facilities – and personnel?”
The virus is here to stay – many say. And tracing will remain important. But how to do this if someone drives up in his private vehicle and park in an anonymous car park and take the next free available spot?
Apart from bio safety there is a second aspect Corona brought to us: an economy without a great outlook. People will be forced to make most of any asset they have. Your private car park is one of them. Especially if families start to downsize and to get rid of their second, third or fourth family car, there is under utilized space available, which other people would like to use. Those spots might be even safer than public parking.
There are several apps around the world that provide the right technologies to book parking spots. So far, the uptake is slow and in a lot of mobility conferences PAAS* get hardly discussed. But I believe this will change. We cannot afford not to invest and develop these technologies further. Mobility is interlinked: connected, shared, on-demand, electric and autonomous. And what is a fleet without a digital booking and planning system for parking, charging and cleaning?
This is the time to change the story of the horror movie and to give it a happy end. “There is a gap in the market for a “Premium Economy” parking experience: slightly wider, slightly cleaner, slightly more friendly – and maybe even with a free coffee thrown in?” says Brown.
COVID-19 has re-emphasized our need for space. Car park operators would be wise to take note.
* PAAS – Parking As A Service is in general a cloud-based app offering to car park owners to connect to drivers who would like to book and pay for a parking space.
Written by Nicoletta Moss
Images by Bryan Apen, Rob Brown.