Alternatives to Free Parking

Free employee parking is part of the cost of doing business…but does it have to be?

By and large, employees expect free on-site parking at their workplaces. It’s so common that most people in non-managerial positions rarely consider how much it costs the company they work for to provide no-cost employee parking. By the same token, free employee parking is so ubiquitous that most companies just think of it as a necessary cost of doing business.

Yet, the realities of continued urban growth are putting the squeeze on a growing number of companies that are struggling to control parking demand and the associated costs. Building new parking facilities is an extremely expensive undertaking, and buying or leasing parking spots for employees in major urban centers can cost a shocking amount of money.

In an effort to keep parking costs and demand in check, it’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to consider alternatives to free employee parking. Since taking away free parking privileges or suddenly announcing that employees are expected to pay for their parking isn’t generally good for morale or employee retention, companies are looking for creative solutions with positive impacts. The good news is that there are many such options available.

Consider these alternatives to free employee parking and enjoy the ancillary benefits they deliver.

The key to reducing parking demand and the accompanying costs is to change commuter behavior. By guiding employees away from single-occupancy vehicles, businesses can achieve an organic reduction in parking demand and achieve significant cost relief.

Here are some winning strategies:

Parking cash-out programs. This approach offers direct financial benefits to employees who willingly surrender their parking privileges by giving them an opportunity to recoup some of the funds that would otherwise have been used to rent, lease or maintain their parking spot.

Earn-a-bike programs. Create a program that gives employees credit toward a new bike every time they log a commute using an alternative mode of transportation.

Subsidized transit passes. Full or partial subsidies for monthly passes to local transit networks gets more employees using public transportation, thus reducing parking demand.

Offering vanpools. Do a lot of commuters travel through a particular hub on your local transit network? Consider implementing a vanpool shuttle between that transit hub and your business site to help ease the parking logjam.

Offer paid credits to ride-hailing services. Like parking cash-out programs, this strategy reassigns the money that would otherwise be used to finance employee parking. Along with ridesharing and vanpools or shuttles, this can be a great strategy for solving “last-mile” problems between transit locations, home, and office.

By providing a varied range of alternatives, businesses allow commuters to choose the travel mode that best suits their lifestyle and preferences. Giving commuters the flexibility to use their preferred mode of transportation while enjoying full company support creates a win-win situation for all involved.

Get started today by learning more about alternatives to free employee parking.