We never envisioned truck stop parking wars when we proposed a novel truck parking idea.
Reserve-It Parking Not Free
On the surface, a trucker’s ability to reserve a truck parking space for a location that he or she plans to be in at a particular point in time seems like a good idea.
But this “service” is not free.
According to a TruckingInfo.com article:
The range of pricing for reserving a space is normally $7 to $12.
Wide loads pay double since they take two spaces.
For owner-operators, this may be a good value.
They may spend more time looking for a spot than the service costs.
But what about company drivers?
Will they have to pay out of pocket?
(When we drove regionally, we always had to pay out of pocket for paid truck parking.)
True, some truckers may be able to write off the cost of parking as a tax deduction.
But that may have changed with the 2018 tax law.
And paying out of pocket doesn’t help with one’s paycheck.
Truck Stop Parking Wars: Our Questions
The article says that Reserve It Parking service is “based on driver demand.”
This raises a series of questions:
- In some places (most notably the northeastern USA), there are not enough truck parking spaces, period. What if there are more reservations made than there are truck stop parking spaces available?
- What happens if a driver who parks in a Reserve-It space has a load canceled and ends up having to stay longer at the truck stop and in that spot than planned?
- Will the truck stop force the driver to move or leave?
- Will management call a towing service to move the truck against the driver’s wishes?
- Who will pay the towing charge?
- What if there are no other truck stop parking spots available at that location?
- What happens when a non-reserving driver finds that the only empty spot in the truck stop is one that has supposedly been reserved for a trucker who hasn’t arrived yet?
- How will management prevent the non-reserving trucker from parking in the “reserved” spot?
- Isn’t possession 9/10ths of the law?
- Will drivers with Smartphones and the Reserve-It app have any advantage over drivers without Smartphones?
- Will this push truckers to buy expensive telecommunications devices and services that they might ordinarily never buy?
- How will truck stops with reserved spaces avoid developing a negative reputation like the old IdleAire service did for becoming “parking police“? (Note: under new management, IdleAir no longer does this.)
- Will there be clashes, fights, even truck stop parking wars erupt between truckers?
Truck Stop Parking Wars: Starting Small
Now granted, the article states:
Sites offering Reserve-It have set aside a small percentage of spots, generally 5% of the spaces on average, for
reserved parking. These locations still maintain a high number of traditional “unreserved” parking spaces available on a first-come basis.
Limiting the number of reserved spots to a small percentage of all truck stop parking spaces sounds wise.
But as we look at the list of truck stops that will have the Reserve-It! parking, some do not appear to have “a high number
of…parking spaces” when compared to the amount of truck traffic in that area.
We think that instead of charging drivers money to park in spaces that are already too few in number, the truck stop chains (and truckers) would be better served to build more truck stops in high demand areas.
The chains know where these areas are.
Besides, Vicki has proposed over and over again that truck stops be built in truck-friendly areas already zoned as industrial, such as near manufacturers.
Money saving tip: Before you pay for truck parking, see if you can find free truck parking elsewhere.
Make sure that the place where you park does not have at least one posted tow-away zone sign.
Are there advantages of paid parking — such as truck and load security — that far outweigh the cost of paying for parking?
If you go into an area where you have the choice between paid parking spots, choose the one that will give you the most value for your money.