How Parking’s ‘New Normal’ Will Transform Operations

By Kevin Uhlenhaker

More than six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the parking industry is still reeling. Canada has done better than its neighbor to the South, but the measures that were required slow the spread of the virus (at least relatively speaking) have also had a major impact on parking and transportation. The combination of government-enforced lockdowns and corporate work-from-home policies decimated parking demand, and while people have begun to venture out again and the economy is showing signs of rebounding, public experts tell us to prepare for a very difficult winter.

In fact, the impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. Parking revenues at least in many locations will likely be down for the foreseeable future—at least into next spring and, perhaps summer—as public health will be a primary consideration in how owners and operators manage their parkades.

New Approaches to Staffing

One of the most obvious impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on parking operations will be found in staffing. As parking lots and parkades begin to fill up again, parking owners and operators will need to find ways to minimize interactions between staff and parkers. Many experts believe that the Coronavirus is still going to present an on-going risk even after there is a widely distributed vaccine. Without draconian governmental intervention a non-insignificant portion of the population will opt to not get the vaccine and for others, it may not be 100% effective or long lasting.

Parking owners and operators can help to protect their customers and employees by limiting face-to-face interactions. That begins with moving staff out of areas of the facility where they are likely to come into direct contact with parking customers. The most obvious place to start is at exit booths. When staff are taking payment…

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