Why the trucking industry should celebrate paid truck parking

0
11

According to a 2019 Jason’s Law Survey, there are only 313,000 truck parking spots in the continental United States to accommodate the more than 1.94 million for-hire trucks on the nation’s roads and highways. Not surprisingly, 98% of truck drivers reported having problems finding truck parking.
But over the past year, paid truck parking has become a reality for truck drivers. These locations provide clean and safe facilities for drivers to park their trucks and trailers overnight or longer.
While fleets have used drop yards for decades, the new focus is on providing private, paid truck parking for mid-size and small fleets, something the trucking industry sorely needs.
One of the market leaders is Truck Parking Club, a website and mobile app that helps truck drivers reserve and pay independent truck parking lot owners for overnight or more extended parking. According to the company, the app is adding an average of two new locations per day, each providing slightly more than 30 parking spots.
As of May 30, 2024, Truck Parking Club has 414 locations offering 13,134 spots. The company prides itself in providing “never before publicly available parking spaces.”
According to Evan Shelley, founder and CEO of Truck Parking Club, more than 3,000 trucking spots on the app were previously unavailable for public parking. In recent months, the percentage of these spots available for truck parking has increased due to the success other property owners have seen with the app.
Truck Parking Club has made it easy for truck drivers to book parking spaces, and truck parking lot owners to collect their fees, which was challenging before the app was created.
The ease of use and collection has attracted new fleets and lot owners, which is desperately needed by the industry. Nonetheless, the lack of safe and secure truck parking costs truck drivers time and money.
Truck drivers spend 58 minutes each day trying to find parking, resulting in an average of $5,500 in lost compensation per year per driver. Because ELD devices measure every hour of on-duty time, the issue is even more significant because the time drivers spend looking for parking cuts into their 11 hours of legal driving time.
In fact, in the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) 2023 survey of truck drivers’ top issues, truck parking ranked second, right behind the economy.
Also, according to a tweet by the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) official X account, truck parking first appeared on the ATRI survey in 2012 and has been a top 5 issue for truck drivers ever since.
Trucking associations like the ATA, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Women in Trucking, and state agencies like the Georgia Department of Transportation have been pushing for increased federal funding for truck parking, with limited results.
In the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, $300 million was allocated to multiple states for truck parking. While this sounds impressive, it only generated 1,000 new truck parking spots.
While the industry will welcome the additional parking, the new government-funded spots will only partially address the overall truck parking issue.
Why?
The trucking industry is growing much faster than the number of available parking spots. From 2009 to 2024, the industry added 69,000 new for-hire trucks to the national fleet annually, or an average of 1,335 trucks per week. While not every one of these trucks needs a parking space (because some park at company facilities or are out of service), the need for safe parking continues to grow.
(Chart: number of tractors from fleets authorized for hire. Source: SONAR. FMCSA)
Assuming state governments build the 1,000 new truck parking spots over the course of a year, the industry will have added another 69,000 for-hire trucks. In other words, the federal and state governments’ investment in truck parking is wholly insufficient to handle the industry’s parking needs.
That reality requires private sector solutions to solve the truck parking problem. The industry needs Truck Parking Club and other companies to provide private, for-hire parking.
This is only possible because private real estate owners are incentivized to set aside locations for public truck parking. If paid truck parking becomes a significant source of revenue, we could see the emergence of an entirely new type of industrial real estate.
But the idea of charging for truck parking has some truck drivers enraged.
Desiree, an outspoken critic of a number of the industry’s organizations and participants, attacked the concept on X:
Any of you #truckdrivers that have bent over for a free hat or some other pitiful drop of attention, sold out your own to help a carpetbagger sell us something that was previously free. You are a disgrace to the children & widow of Jason Rivenburg @JasonsLaw #truckparking #FUTPC — Desiree (@TruckerDesiree) May 29, 2024
However, Desiree and other drivers who do not want to pay for parking fail to understand that the only way to generate investment in private truck parking is to make it attractive enough for landowners to invest in truck parking spaces. If they can’t turn a profit on their land, they have no incentive to provide truck parking, and therefore, the industry will continue to suffer from a lack of parking.
Dominick Tullo described the issues with investing in trucking parking on his X account:
I don’t even know where to begin on the free truck parking debate.
In the market I operate in free is not an option. An acre of land near the ports of NY run anywhere from 4-6+ million per acre.
An acre can park 20-40 trucks depending on the shape, ingress, and egress.
Banks… — Dominick Tullo (Fuel Distribution) (@Dominick_Tullo) May 30, 2024
Dominick is right.
The only way to look at the truck parking issue is through the eyes of landowners. If we want more public parking available for drivers, the investment needs to be appealing and something that a bank would underwrite. The only way to do this is to ensure that truck parking is profitable.
Truck Parking Club has made three times as many spots available to truck drivers as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act did, without taking a single penny in taxpayer money.
Moreover, the app, which was launched in 2022, is just now gaining momentum.
The best feature of Truck Parking Club for drivers is that it eliminates the need to drive around and search for available parking spots, which can be tedious and expensive. After all, if drivers can see which locations are available and book a spot early in the day, they can continue their runs later in the night when the roads are less congested.
After all, the cost of lost wages, time, and fuel, not to mention the driver’s frustration in searching for a safe parking spot, is often more expensive than the overnight parking fee.
The market always finds a way — that is how capitalism works.
Disclosure: Craig Fuller is an adviser to Truck Parking Club

admin

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here