Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics


Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

From Peter Guest:


The Economist recently published a survey showing parking rates in different cities thus giving another airing to the old adage “lies, dam lies and statistics”. The article refers to the daily and monthly charges in various cities across the world and notes that parking charges are holding firm despite the recession and that charges are higher in Europe and (wow) lowest in India.

Let’s look at this in a bit more depth. It costs about a thousand dollars a month to park in London according to the table. However, this figure is dominated by municipal parking lots where the price mechanism has no reverse gear. So boom or bust the charges are only going one way. It costs $26 a month to park in Mumbai but virtually all of that city’s parking is still free. And do the figures actually mean what they say? Ok it costs 40 times more to park in London than Mumbai but since the average London parker is probably earning 50 times what the guy in Mumbai gets which is really cheaper?

The numbers are numbers and I think they tell us nothing about either the relative real cost of parking in the various cities or about parking charges and the state of the economy. What might tell us something is how parking costs have altered and how full the parking is and was two years ago.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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