Snow started early this year on the south coast, I saw the first flakes on the 29th of November! This was swiftly followed by more snow and freezing temperatures. There is no doubt about it snow is bad for the parking industry, the main reason being people just don’t drive.
We seem to have a phobia or at least an inability to drive when the weather takes a turn for the worst, now I agree with the guidance from the police not to drive unless it’s absolutely necessary. However I wonder what happens in northern America, or eastern Europe where it ‘really’ snows, and the weather hits temperatures of around -20. Do people stop working all through the winter? Perhaps not.
The majority of us don’t have much experience driving in snow which undoubtedly can make it challenging when attempting to drive in it, however perhaps there should be some training incorporated into driving tests. Now that would be fun, skid pan training…
This week one of our car parks which usually would have sat at around 75% capacity reached a maximum of 19%. This particular car park is a multi story so really doesn’t get affected by snow and ice as such, however when people don’t drive the car park doesn’t make any money. Which is crucial from a business perspective.
If people don’t venture out, the car park doesn’t get customers, so the shops don’t get customers and family don’t get presents on Christmas day. (that’s my excuse at least)
However as operators we have a responsibility (as I have mentioned before) to offer a safe, friendly and secure environment for our customers to use. This means clearing pathways and stairwells, if necessary close the stairwell and offer an alternative form of exit. Grit and salt entrances, exits and the entire car park where necessary. We all like ice skating, but leaving the whole car park as one is not safe and not good for business.
Last year the local council refused to clear a side road near my house, you couldn’t get up the hill in your car and if you were crazy enough to try and go down there was no way you could stop at the bottom.
This understandably annoyed the 200 or so residents in my area affected by this, and so one of them circulated a letter informing them he would be clearing the road on Sunday and if anyone wanted to help then he would be glad of the assistance.
That Sunday just over 100 people turned out myself included and worked solid to clear the road, I felt an enormous sense of community involvement last year an act of team work and defiance, we could not be beaten.
As cheesy as it sounds we all need to be defiant in these tough weather conditions, there are a few more months to come yet, and there are areas worse than our own particularly in the west country and up north. Let’s keep our car parks clear and safe, keep them open so when the customers do come they can continue to park in confidence.
Keep your staff motivated, keep your car parks open and keep business moving.