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Today’s Pickup: UPS hit with $33.8 million in NYC parking fines; FedEx, $14.9 million

Good day,

New York City is ground zero for clashes that occur between transportation users competing for limited parking spaces. For delivery companies, the tight fit means racking up astronomical parking fines as a cost of doing business. In 2018, for example, FedEx incurred $14.9 million in fines, according to the New York City Department of Finance; UPS, a whopping $33.8 million.

The total amount of commercial parking fines incurred in New York City in 2018 was $181.5 million, meaning the two delivery giants were responsible for about one quarter of the city’s commercial parking fines last year.

“UPS pays for parking tickets that result as a cost of doing business in order to support the flow of critical commerce,” a spokesperson told the Pickup in an email. “Dense urban centers can pose challenges where no legal parking may be available. We’ve told our drivers that if a loading zone or legal parking space is not available, they may double-park in order to serve the needs of our business customers.”

FedEx sent this response:

“Parking limitations in congested metropolitan areas like New York City create challenges, but we always strive to comply with local traffic regulations as we meet our daily customer service commitments. FedEx also participates in programs many cities have to more efficiently manage parking and fine payment processes.”


“As AI takes off, demand for information is exploding, making data a new and valuable resource. Yet vital questions remain: who controls the data? How should the profits be distributed? The only thing almost everyone can agree on is that the person deciding cannot be Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s scandal-swamped boss.”

The Economist, in an article about Europe cracking down on big tech

Did you know?

Soccer moms, take note. The kid ride-sharing space is getting more crowded and attracting more money. VanGo, a Connecticut-based startup that caters to teens and pre-teens, is the newest entrant. Zūm, a ride-sharing service for kids, recently raised $40 million in its Series C round, led by BMW Ventures with participation from Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital and Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

In other news:

Fuel-cell company CEO a critic of fuel cells in cars

Bloom Energy Corp. chief executive officer K.R. Sridhar said fuel cells make more sense powering the stations that charge EVs. (Bloomberg)

Google NYC touts the company’s community investments

Casting shade on Amazon, Google plans to invest $1 billion in developing its Hudson Square campus, with no tax incentives. (

Two GOP bills seek to redirect federal funds from California high-speed rail project

A bill introduced by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), would “repurpose” about $3.5 billion worth of federal funds for the rail system to water infrastructure projects. (CNBC)

Oregon lawmakers consider new bill to regulate diesel pollution

The legislation aims to reduce diesel pollution by phasing out old diesel trucks. (OPB)

Final thoughts:

City planners have historically viewed freight and personal travel planning as two distinct areas to be managed. E-commerce is rendering that paradigm outdated, said Alison Conway, a civil engineering professor at the City College of New York. Before e-commerce, people drove to the store to purchase goods; now they have the option of purchasing online, eliminating personal travel and adding to e-commerce travel, said Conway, who is also the associate director for New Initiatives at the Region 2 University Transportation Research Center. Alternatively, shoppers might drive to the store to check out the merchandise in person, then drive home to purchase online. Either way, Conway advised, “There’s a need for more integrated transportation planning.”

Hammer down, everyone!

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected]