People Don’t Agree to Pay for Parking


People Don’t Agree to Pay for Parking

When I read news articles about parking I’m always shocked by the concern parking industry policy makers show when the public voices its displeasure about paid parking. It’s a nice gesture, but is technically not necessary. Parking leaders might be sincere and they might be faking it, but I’m always surprised, because it’s not exactly the public’s decision whether their parking is free or costs $10, is it?

Palm Springs officials are dealing with a bad reaction to a recent decision to charge for parking at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. People are mad for a variety of reasons, including their claim that the city has not appropriately studied how charging for parking will increase operation costs at the tourist attraction. But it all comes down to them wanting free parking. Read the article here.

Nobody WANTS to pay for parking. Nobody likes paying for parking, and if given the choice, they’ll choose free parking 99.9 percent of the time – and I’m quoting my own poorly-conducted, but reliable research here. But plenty of people want to charge for parking and make a profit in their cities and parking operations. And because people have cars and like to go places where they need parking for those cars, it’s a symbiotic relationship, of sorts.

It’s a free market, so it makes sense to me that parking industry policies would reflect the actual supply and demand economics that run much of our country’s industries. If you operate a popular attraction and are the only parking operator at that attraction, you can charge for parking and parkers will just have to pay. Make the price fair so you don’t give people the feeling they are being exploited and people will get used to it pretty fast. They won’t be happy about it, but they’ll do it because they really want to get in that tiny box suspended by cable and go up 8,500 feet into the San Jacinto Mountains. Not my idea of fun, but who’s asking?

Sometimes you just have to make an executive decision and stop waiting for everyone to approve.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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