If the thought of calling ahead to guarantee a parking spot
at your favorite truck stop sounds far-fetched, you might be surprised to know
that it’s already happening.
The anti-idling solutions company IdleAire, in cooperation
with TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers, began testing a
parking space reservation system at six truck stop locations in June. A
larger-scale rollout is planned for later this year.
According to a press release, approximately 10 percent of
the IdleAire spaces at the six locations will be set aside initially to test
the reservation system.
The system is open to both company drivers and
owner-operators who are members of the company’s IdleAire Gold Card club.
Membership costs $10 every six months, and includes other benefits, such as
lower hourly usage rates.
Those drivers will be able to make same-day reservations by
calling IdleAire’s customer support line at 1-877-738-7024. Reserved spaces
will be held until 8 p.m., and “no shows” will be charged for a night’s stay.
“This formalizes what has been occurring informally among
drivers and our site personnel for many months,” said IdleAire Executive Vice
President Lynn Youngs in a statement. “We expect the reservation system to be
very popular among drivers and fleets.”
Although parking reservations at truck stops are a recent
development, a similar system for four-wheelers in urban areas has been in
place for about a year. For a fee – ranging anywhere from $1 to $6 per time,
according to The Wall Street Journal –motorists can call dibs on
a parking spot and pull in without the worry of finding an opening, at one of
more than 400 participating facilities across the country.
Another technology being developed by XM Satellite Radio,
which uses the company’s satellite services in conjunction with existing
parking lot sensors, is currently in development.
– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer