Why Drivers Avoid NYC Parking, And What You Can Do About It

Driving and parking in New York City is notoriously awful. To deal with the issues, the city has posed some solutions, like banning personal cars from the city. Meanwhile, the auto industry is working toward a future where autonomous cars park themselves, but this won’t happen for years.

So what do NYC drivers dislike the most about parking? And what can you do to get more business and convince more NYC drivers to park at your facility? Well, we were wondering the same thing, so we asked.

Last month, we surveyed 200+ drivers in NYC and asked them one question, “What’s the most challenging part of parking in New York City?”

The Top 4 Reasons People Avoid Parking In NYC

2015 NYC Parking Survey

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1. Fear of Full Lots Make People Leave Their Cars at Home

37.8% of drivers surveyed share that being turned away due to a full lot is the most frustrating part of parking in NYC.

Here are real driver comments revealing negative experiences with full facilities:

  • “… when I arrived the attendants said the garage was full and I should file for a refund. They did not want to take my car. After speaking to another attendant they finally took my car. Not the way to run a business.”
  • “I arrived with my reservation and the attendant tells me the lot is full and he cannot accommodate me… he finally agrees to take my car. I arrived at my show late because of this and I was not comfortable leaving my car at this point because I didn’t trust it there anymore.”

2. How Can a Driver Park If They Can’t Find Your Garage?

35.1% of drivers find locating garages in New York City especially challenging. Major complaints for drivers include confusing signage and easily missing narrow entrances to underground facilities.

These are examples of typical drivers who couldn’t find a garage in NYC:

  • “The only difficulty I found was that I had a hard time finding the address.. The building next to the garage had the address posted and you can easily pass the entrance thinking the garage would be next door. Then Oops too late, I just passed the garage and now have to circle the block in NYC traffic.”
  • “There were streets closed off for Halloween and the NYC marathon this weekend. Unfortunately my first parking garage that I reserved was blocked off so I could not park. I called Spot Heros to see what I should do. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of the girl I spoke to, but she was great. She was super nice and found me a spot right next to where I was staying for the night… Was not expecting such a good outcome. Everything went smoothly and I got to enjoy my stay in NYC. Thank you!!!”
  • “The photo was helpful to find this location… there was no address on the exterior. I was not sure if this was the correct parking lot because there was another one on the same block. Luckily your photo showed a red parking sign so that was helpful.”

If drivers who are actively looking for your facility are unable to find it, imagine how difficult it is for a driver searching for parking to come across your garage or lot.

3. Attendant Interactions Keep Drivers from Becoming Loyal Customers

22.3% of customers say negative interactions with attendants keep them from coming back a garage or lot. Operators who invest in training and maintain high standards for customer service tend to see the best repeat business.

Here are real situations where drivers had negative interactions with attendants:

  • “… When I went to pick up car, attendant was rude and took at least 15 minutes. Then, when I got into my car, I was getting my belongings in order and the attendant honked at me to move.”
  • “…The only attendant at 11:30 pm was completely unqualified. She was so bad at driving that I had to get my car out of the lot myself. I will never go back there.”
  • “Horrible experience… The attendant rushed me out of my car to move it and in a rush we never gave him the key. I have a keyless ignition. When I returned I had to pay a $35.00 Ransom fee to get my car out. We waited 40 minutes to get our car… Probably will never use this facility again.”

4. Showing up to a Garage, Only to Discover It’s Temporarily Closed

Of the 200 drivers surveyed, 9% said their experience with garage closure is a major reason they drive and park less often.

Temporary closures are common in NYC due to repairs, street blockage, or construction obstructing your entrance. It’s important to communicate with potential parkers when your facility is closed.

These drivers had to find other parking because of temporary closures:

  • The place is closed today. Ended up paying double at a place next door…”
  • “They closed the street off due to an accident, and we had to find parking elsewhere…”
  • “When I arrived the parking lot was closed for maintenance… I had to reserve another parking lot.”

Online Reservations Companies Can Help You Solve NYC Parking Problems

Partnering with an online reservation company will help ease some of the parking frustrations that NYC drivers run into on a daily basis. Communicating important updates and information to drivers through a mobile app pays for itself with repeat business.

5 Ways Online Reservation Companies Improve Parking in NYC

1. Letting Drivers Know When a Lot or Garage Reaches Capacity

Updates made to parking apps will make sure drivers booking parking online don’t arrive to a full facility. Only list spots online at times when you have excess inventory. That way people won’t reserve spots there when you’re at or near capacity.

2. Phone Support Assisting Drivers When on the Road or Parking at Your Facility

One of the biggest benefits of working with an online reservation company is their customer phone support. They make sure drivers get to your facility no matter what, and will go as far as giving driving directions over the phone.

Oftentimes assistance is needed while driving to a facility, such as needing directions or adjusting a reservation. Now drivers can simply call a customer support team rather than fumble with their phones while driving.

3. Written Directions Clarifying Where a Facility Is Located and How to Get There

Though you can’t control street closures or scaffolding covering your address, partnering with a parking app will give you visibility on a map.

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Along with instructions how to enter the facility, clicking on the entrance address will take parkers to directions via Google maps. Drivers can also call a parking app’s support center to speak with a real person for further directions if need be.

4. Providing Photo of Facility to Avoid Entrance Location Confusion

Showing drivers an image of your facility’s entrance provides them with visual context, like what type of business or building is located next to the entrance, and gives them a heads up if they should be looking for an entrance going below street level.

This will ultimately help them know exactly where and how to enter.

5. Informing Drivers When Your Facility Temporarily Closes

Whether your facility closes because of maintenance or road closure, an online reservation company can update drivers so they don’t show up to a closed garage.

Partnering with a Parking App Makes You Part of the Solution

Despite the difficulties of parking in NYC, there are some drivers that do it anyway. However, for every commuter that’s willing to drive in NYC there are 5.5 commuters (not including those who walk) that opt for public transportation, ride-sharing, or another form of transit.

That’s where parking apps come in. In cities where parking can be stressful or difficult, parking apps help convince people who otherwise would not drive to take a stab at parking in the city.

Made visiting New York with a car doable!

By listing spots on an online or mobile parking platform, drivers can choose to park in your facility rather than steer clear of parking altogether.

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