Phuket Opinion: Parking management not “The Impossible’

PHUKET: Rising property prices, poor public planning and a dire lack of public transport options have combined to leave Phuket with a lack of public parking in some of its most densely-settled areas.

In few places is the problem more acute than in shopping center parking garages. While some are better than others, the traffic nightmare that persists in some, during peak hours, indicates that the prevailing logic is “never turn away a customer” – even when the garage itself is already dangerously beyond capacity.

Viewing the situation through a more cynical prism, perhaps the management logic is that allowing multi-dimensional gridlock to persist is the perfect way to create a “captive market”.

Whether the situation is the result of incompetence or greed, we ask operators of these facilities to reconsider the impact on consumers, who can and will go elsewhere.

Tales of parking garage woe are common in popular blog sites, but these are probably just the tip of the iceberg.

This editorial writer has already suffered ruination of two shopping trips this month as the result of garage mismanagement. The first involved getting trapped in the basement of a parking garage at a large retail complex in Patong for 45 minutes, all of which was spent jockeying for position with other drivers – all angry, aggressive and desperate to make an exit. Worse, staff there refused to open a second available exit to alleviate the problem, even for customers holding free parking vouchers, because “the computer there is broke”, we were told.

A week later we arrived at a well-known mall in Muang District with tickets in hand for the movie The Impossible, only to miss almost half of the film because someone had given up, parked illegally, pulled the key from the ignition, locked the doors and abandoned his vehicle in the midst of the impenetrable gridlock.

That the parking facility in question already employs one ill-tempered man to maneuver about the garage with a car forklift says a great deal about the number of people who do the exact same thing – simply give up and abandon ship.

The Phuket Gazette fails to understand how such situations are allowed to develop or persist. Each garage has a finite number of spaces and computer-equipped staff at both entrances and exits to monitor the number of passing vehicles. Even if the employees’ reasoning abilities have been severely compromised by exposure to carbon monoxide, it should be simple enough to program a computer to automatically drop a gate at the entrance and post a sign reading “Sorry, parking lot full. No entry” after a certain, safe number of cars has been reached.

As some malls appear unwilling or unable to properly manage their parking facilities, the Gazette calls upon the Phuket Provincial Office to better enforce existing safety regulations, to ensure that the retailers do a better job of acting in their customers’ – and therefore their own – best interests.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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