“Truck Parking Issue Would Be Gone If People Were Willing To Pay,” NATSO CEO Says
Orlando, Florida – The parking shortage would be solved quickly if truckers and trucking companies were willing to pay to park, according to Lisa Mullings, CEO of NATSO.
Mullings, gave pointed remarks at the NATSO annual convention held in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 10-13. “I can guarantee you, the truck parking issue would be gone if people were willing to pay for it,” Mullings said. “It’s a cost of doing business that the truck stop industry has.”
The shortage of available, safe parking is consistently ranked by drivers as one of the most frustrating and troublesome issues the industry is facing. In fact, “Parking Problems” was ranked #2 on Transportation Nation Network’s (TNN) list of Top 5 Troubling Trucking Trends Likely To Continue In 2019.
A 2018 ATRI study conducted on behalf of the Mid America Association for State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) found that 40% of truck drivers surveyed said they spend between 31-60 minutes each day searching for adequate parking. The same survey also revealed 32% of truck drivers said the search for parking costs them 61-120 minutes each day.
Dan Murray, Vice President of Research for the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) also spoke at the NATSO convention and he said this is simply unacceptable. “Basically, they’re not getting paid, it’s frustrating time and costs the average driver about $4,600 in direct lost compensation looking for truck parking,” he said.
Pointing to the ATRI study, Murray said the average driver spends 56 minutes a day looking for parking. “It’s not just a safety and compliance issue; it’s an economic issue for some of these drivers, and our data shows for some of these drivers it’s the last nail in the coffin, and they’re out of here. It’s costing them time and money.”
Mega truck stop chains continue to expand their parking options, but still don’t provide anywhere near the spaces needed. Brian Ferguson, vice president with Pilot Flying J, told Transport Topics last year that only about 300,000 parking spaces are available for the more than 3 million drivers nationwide.
Even though major chains like Travel Centers Of America (TA), Pilot Flying J, and Love’s Travel Centers are each expanding their parking offerings and opening new stores in 2019, their offerings fall far short of what is needed. It has led to a rise in the number of parking spaces being made available for rent.
Tom Liutkus, senior vice president of marketing for TA told Transport Topics the truck stop chain allows paid reservations for 13.7% of its parking spots, on average. However, he says the company is looking at every option to help bring relief to the worsening crises. “We’re looking at all options,” Liutkus told Transport Topics. “We expect to add where we can.”
The lack of adequate parking is spilling over more and more into cities and municipalities as truckers seek a safe place to park for their 10-hours of off-duty time. TNN has reported extensively on the growing list of cities looking to crack down on truck parking.
Cities in Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Connecticut, just to name a few, have all recently announced new measures to rid their cities of unwanted trucks parking illegally. This problem is only expected to worsen as freight volume is expected to continue to grow.
NATSO represents more than 1,700 travel plazas and truck stops nationwide owned by over 200 corporate entities. The trade association has been representing travel plaza and truck stop owners for over 50 years.