Reserved parking makes its way to truck stops

| 6/28/2006

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