Archives for posts with tag: Parking

The cost of parking is fast becoming onerous. Some would say it’s already reached that stage, and has done for a whille.

The other day I flew from Ireland to the UK, for €37 all in, including priority boarding and 2 cabin bags on the way back. The cost of parking, off site, with my car occupying 10 square metres of real estate in the middle of nowhere, ie Shannon long term? €42 for 7 days, booked in advance. Something’s not right there.

Quite recently while visiting in Bristol I went to the Cabot Circus shopping complex in the heart of the city to buy a sweatshirt for my daughter that wasn’t available anywhere else in the area. I was in and out of the multi-story in less than 30 minutes. The cost of parking? €3.

Do they not want you to park in town? Do they not want you to shop in their shops? Has real estate got to the stage where they need to cover their own high costs, or are they simply charging what the market will bear?

Parking has always been ludicrous in the city centres, but now, in off-site long-term parking where they have you over a barrel, it’s rapidly moving that way too.

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The other day a friend of mine told me about the secret parking space he’s been using for over a decade. It’s a free, unmetered secret parking space. It’s in a major city in Ireland, right in the city centre.

You know these are gold-dust, right? It’s not just the convenience, the time-saving benefit and the lack of cost. It’s the knowledge, being in the know, having the inside track. My missus and I used to have a free spot in Dublin city centre, about 20 years or so ago. It was 5 minutes’ walk from Trinity College, which – if you don’t know your Dublin, is pretty darn central. Now development has absorbed it and it is no more.

I used the new secret parking space for the first time recently. It’s no more than 5 minutes from the thick of things. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a frisson of excitement using it. It’s like putting one over the system, legitimately. I wonder if it’s a small bit like being a member of a secretive club?

Passing the secret on to someone else is extending to them the bond of trust you only extend to a few chosen ones. Every additional person who knows about the secret parking space diminishes the chances of it being free the next time you want to use it. And if it’s like an Irish secret, which means you only tell one person at a time, then soon the network effect means that it’s no longer secret. Then it’s only a matter of time before the authorities close the loophole.

For now, though, it’s a precious commodity, with real, tangible value.