Boxcar has been preparing for the impact of coronavirus for the past month. As expected, it is leading to significant reduction in demand for Boxcar’s core services of parking and transportation. Below is a chart of our parkings the past 7 workdays compared to average.
Some actions we have taken to make up for this shortfall already:
We are reducing expenditures and fixed costs (advertising, meals, travel, software)
On Monday, we launched Manhattan parking for customers that are working to avoid public transit.
Suburban Work Space - just like parking spots, offices and churches are renting out their spare workspace through the Boxcar app to our customers who are working remotely
We launched BoxcarExec service - Utilize luxury 14-passenger sprinter vans, charging $37.99 for a one-way ticket and allow customers to skip Penn Station/Subways.
We eliminated some bus service to reduce slack
We will lower prices on parking to maintain higher occupancy rates in towns where we are more expensive than commuter rail stations
This is a once-in-a-lifetime situation we’re facing, and as such we’re in uncharted waters.
If I were to catalog the most likely Boxcar scenarios, in order of likelihood, they’d look something like the below:
Most Likely- Swoosh-shaped recovery. Consumption takes the elevator down and the stairs back up. I don’t know what the y-axis looks like here, could take 6 months to hit a new record parking high, it could take 9-12 months. This is likely if we treat the disease in the same manner as Italy, with a sort of “hope for the best” strategy.
Less Likely - V-shaped recovery - everything falls off and then comes back just as rapidly with the spring breeze. This would require decisive and proactive action by governments and companies today - basically shut schools and work-places and self-quarantine for 2-3 weeks until people figure out how to survive the disease and social distance in their lives. Hopefully warm weather helps as well. This is the “Taiwan” or “South Korea” strategy. “Take your medicine all at once” The way our governments are currently dragging their feet, I don’t think this is very likely.
Unlikely but possible - Permanently changing dynamics – Companies and commuters get a taste of the no-commuting life and realize how far tools that facilitate remote work have come. A prolonged remote-work scenario changes habits and ends the arc of increasingly-centralized working that began in the industrial revolution. If this happens, Boxcar’s total addressable market for private commuter parking shrinks, but opportunities to otherwise serve suburban commuters may actually increase.
In all of the above scenarios, I believe that we will find opportunities to continue connecting suburban residents with local municipalities and service providers in a way that continues to add value. Boxcar is a well-capitalized, nimble company built atop a flexible platform. We listen to our customers and if there’s a way we can help them - we will.
I’ll continue to keep you updated. Thanks for your continued support and if you have any questions or concerns feel free to send them.