Parking at Parks

Sunday, February 12, 2006 1:42 PM
While replying to a news posting, I thought of an idea, and thought I'd post it here for discussion:

I'm surprised parks don't try to roll out an hourly-based parking system (i.e. you get a timestamped ticket when you go in, and pay like $1/hr that you're in the lot). If you assume $1/hr, you'd be close to the $15 for full-day patrons (get there for park opening at 9am, and if you don't leave the lot until midnight, that's 15 hours), but you'll also enhance the value of people who get there later in the day. If you're worried about people not paying, you could even make them fork over $20 when they come in, and then they receive "cash back" when they leave based on how long they were in the lot. I don't know about you, but if the park gives *ME* $5 as I leave, I'm going to feel like I'm getting value - never mind the $15 I paid to have my car sit there for the day. Plus "$1/hr" sounds better than "$15/day", even if you wind up having your car in the lot for 15 hours.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 1:54 PM
It may seem like a good idea on the surface, but I suspect it'd backfire.

You're at a park, waiting in a long line, and in the back of your head you know you're paying MORE the longer you wait in that line? I'd give up and go home, probably to never return.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:01 PM
Parking at parks?

Just get a room people!

;)

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:10 PM
Why would they do something like that, When many of the parks are unreachable any other way? There pretty much guaranteed getting the full 15 bucks.

Chuck, who honestly thinks parking should be free or the cheapest the can possibly make it. To make guest feel more welcome.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:26 PM
You can take public transportation to my home park, it will dump off at the main road and from there you have to walk in. Probably a good 1o minutes hike. But, you save $15.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:30 PM
There's nothing worse than getting to a park and the first thing they tell you is that you need to fork over money (any amount) to park. If every car on average brings in four people, and parking costs usually would cost $15, just make parking free and raise the general admission price by $3.75 to make up the difference. I think that would be a much easier raise in prices for the park guests to handle, the park is still getting the money, and the guests think they are getting a good value. Plus, then you make a bigger profit off of people who take public transportation to the park or come in a bus or van or other high capacity vehicle. I dunno, I'm sure there's a serious flaw in my idea that I'm just not seeing... but when I go to Knoebels, and I don't have to fork over $10 just to park, I usually still end up spending that $10, that I would have paid at other parks to park, on food or rides or such.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 3:35 PM
The thing is though, people pay the parking fee *and* buy snacks and stuff in the park. I mean really, I dont think there are *that* many families that want to go to an amusement park that will balk simiply because of the parking fees. Why give up the money?
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 3:54 PM

Coaster Lover said:
There's nothing worse than getting to a park and the first thing they tell you is that you need to fork over money (any amount) to park. h.


Uh, Yes there is! Like SFNE making us wait 45 minutes to pay our ten bucks by having only one of eight lanes open.

:(

Chuck

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 5:12 PM
Free parking works for HW...not to mention free soft drinks and free sunscreen. I hope they never change that.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 5:23 PM
To follow up on what GregLeg said a little – if you used a timestamp system – you are encouraging guests to get in and out as fast as possible. At a park they want you to stay, so if you fork over however many dollars to park no matter how long your visit, you’ll be tempted to stay longer to maximize your value.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 5:38 PM

coasterguts said:
You can take public transportation to my home park, it will dump off at the main road and from there you have to walk in. Probably a good 1o minutes hike. But, you save $15.

True, but for someone like me, who can drive to that park (SFA) in 15 minutes, taking public transportation would take about 1.5 hours, so that alone sets me off from that idea. Not to mention, with the price of public transportation, while it may be cheeper to go that way if you have one or two people, a family of four would end up paying less by just parking at thepark, plus they would have the convienence of being able to come and go from the park at their own schedule. Not to mention, for someone like me, I'd need to transfer twice on the metro and once more on a bus, so it's not exactly a straight shot. Maybe if they somehow extended the metro to the park that would help. I'd suggest that SFA should run a free bus from the metro stop to the park, but then I'm sure everyone would just park at the metro stop where parking is considerably less (on weekends it's free).

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 8:10 PM
I keep drilling this point home, but somehow people aren't getting it; Holiday World can supply free parking, free softdrinks, and free sunscreen (really, how cheap are you if you need to be supplied with free sunscreen? The stuff isn't exactly expensive) because they don't have four B&Ms in their park. I would bet that the sunscreen has someone's corporate name on it, just as all the softdrinks do.

Some have made fun of Synder for all the talk of putting corporate sponsorship everywhere. Well, Holiday World beat him to the punch a long time ago everytime you go to one of the drink oasis's.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 8:22 PM
Holiday World's free softdrinks are sponsored by Pepsi [hence the "Pepsi Oasis" buildings you get your softdrinks at]. I'm not sure who, if anyone, sponsors the sunscreen. The park's website does not mention any company.

And the free parking? My guess is that, like a few other parks, what would normally be the cost of parking is added to the cost of admission.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 9:05 PM
Not so ... the park provides the Pepsi. We do promotions with Pepsi, but we purchase the product from them like any other park or restaurant does.

We provide the sunscreen as well.

We've always had free parking; I've never heard of it being included in admission.

Sorry, Moosh, but you're three for three.

Paula

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 9:27 PM
One of my biggest complaints about parking is that most parks use the term "Guests" to refer to people who visit.

I never pay to park when I drive to my local supermarket, dry cleaners or even to a drive through restaurant. In all of these cases, aren't I still a guest? (And hopefully a valued one at that).

When I have visitiors, I don't charge my guests to park. I provide them with free drinks (we only stock soft drinks at the Reflux' abode) as well as quality snacks and a tidy bathroom (at least for the first guest).

The bottom line is you don't charge "GUESTS" for implied services or you end up not having very many.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 10:11 PM
moosh got served :)
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 10:47 PM
First off, for the other businesses you are not a 'guest'. You are a customer. The difference is you are there for a specific product. You're there to get something. You're not there to relax or be entertained (unless you really go to those places you listed just for a good time). I can see perhaps a movie theater, but even still, you don't have free reign to go into whatever theater you want - with an amusement park, you can go more or less whereever you want (not counting restricted areas.. but there's no single set path you HAVE to follow.) and ride whichever ride you want.

The term 'guest' is used (technically) to refer to the people once they are already inside the park.

For example, if I come over to your house, when I'm on the freeway driving there, I'm not yet your guest. When I'm putting 25¢ in the parking meter, I'm still not your guest. When the parking meter doesn't work and I go to a parking garage and pay $5 to park so I don't get a ticket next to an expired meter, I'm still not your guest. Once I step through your door, then I am your guest. Are you going to give me the $5 back I had to pay to park near your house, since I am your guest and don't have to pay to park by my house?

As your guest, if I decide to turn on pay-per-view and watch a movie, would you happily foot the bill and not even mention the charges? What about if I ate as much as I could out of your fridge? How about if I made an expensive long-distance call to relatives in Europe? At some point, would you not begin to ask me for/demand compensation? Or maybe we decide to order out for a pizza. Would you gleefully pay for the entire pizza since I'm your guest, or would you expect me to chip in for food? Granted, we probably wouldn't buy a $40 pizza, but I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this....

Same is true in amusement parks. Where you park is your business, because you're not yet in their "house". They have limited parking facilities, so like any other parking garage in a city, there will be a fee to park. Some parks may be better hosts than others (i.e. free drinks vs. charging for drinks) but I'm sure there are people out there, too, who will offer their guests in their house free water, but ask for money if they want soda, etc.

EDIT: more typos (geez, I'm having a bad night with typos!) and a little re-organizing for clarity

*** Edited 2/13/2006 3:54:17 AM UTC by dannerman***

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Sunday, February 12, 2006 11:06 PM
Can you imagine the stack up of cars shortly after close on a Saturday night trying to get out and pay their time stamped parking? It would be like a TLC concert at Astroworld but in the parking lot.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006 11:57 PM
Dan - You make a very valid point. I will take it a step further though... If you WERE my guest, and you wanted a good dinner, I would feed you - no questions asked. If you needed to make a long distance phone call, I would let you. Though as a "guest" - our relationship wouldn't be built on business but on prior personal relationships. (The other people on the parkway exiting with you WOULDN'T be welcomed guests, they would be un-welcomed, tresspassing strangers and I wouldn't offer them a darn thing.) ["No soup for you!"]

But every time I visit a park, aren't I considered a consumer? The desired product is a collection of rides. (Like the movie theater, pizza place, drive cleaners.)

I guess I object to the accepted term GUEST.

Unfortunately, I can't offer thrilling ride experiences to my guests. (Except when they sit on my office chair and I manually spin them around.)

By the way, I don't care if a guest in my house makes typos, as long as he or she doesn't use inappropriate language in front of my wife and son. (Another thing most parks don't enforce).

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Monday, February 13, 2006 12:25 AM
Sorry, Moosh, but you're three for three.

Not the first [or last] time, Paula ;) Thanks for setting the record straight!!

Actually wouldn't I be two for three as I wasn't sure who, if anyone, sponsored the sun lotion?


*** Edited 2/13/2006 8:27:39 AM UTC by Mamoosh***

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