Getting to the Meat of the Problem

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Getting to the Meat of the Problem

(PT's Technology Editor Pete Goldin caught this great piece from India. I use two things to determine the relative cost of living from country to country – first the cost of a Big Mac, and second the cost of a gallon of gasoline. FYI – in the UK a Big Mac Costs US$4.50 and a gallon of gas around $6.)

What do hamburgers and parking have to do with each other? When I think of burgers and parking, I think of a classic 50s dining place like Mel's drive-in from the movie American Graffiti. Dr. Adhiraj Joglekar, founder of the website driving-india.blogspot.com, thinks of daily parking rates.

Currently, there is a debate going on in India over the fairness of parking rates. When a citizen was forced to pay 700 Rupees for one day's parking at the New Delhi Railway station in March – after the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had promised in 2008 to keep rates at 10 Rupees per day – it ended in a court battle. The Delhi High Court is now requiring all the city's civic agencies to produce their parking policies and rationale behind parking rates.

All this controversy makes us have to ask the question: what is a fair parking rate in India, or for that matter, anywhere? Dr. Joglekar has come up with an unorthodox yet deliciously satisfying model for calculating fair daily parking rates.

"In my mind, car parking per hour should not be cheaper than buying the cheapest burger," explains Dr. Joglekar. "I use this analogy as it transcends confusion created by exchange rates. In other words I would expect £1 to be paid per hour in the UK. Similarly I would expect Rs 35 or so per hour in urban India – this will be the cost of cheapest burger or an equivalent in India. This should be feasible for any car owner in India and perhaps divided by two for two-wheel drives."

Thanks to the good doctor for putting a refreshing perspective on India's parking rate debate. Now, who's hungry?

Pete Goldin

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