Should Parking be “free” to the parker


Should Parking be “free” to the parker

The other day a friend of mine went berserk when I told him I didn’t mind paying for parking at a local mall. He said that he would never enter a mall where he had to pay to park.  I mentioned the inequities of the situation, the fact the folks who came to the mall in some other way than in a private car pay a premium to shop because I want my parking for free. He noted that if a store validates, the store then pays the extra amount.

I countered with that the cost of the parking is paid by someone. Either its part of the rent the store pays, or its paid separately by the store to the mall, but in either case, the cost of that parking is paid, ultimately by the people who shop there. You buy the same watch at Costco as from Tiffany’s, but it costs more at Tiffany’s because the jeweler pay much more in rent than does the big box store.

Now, if the merchant elects to pay for the parking and absorb it as a cost of doing business, thats OK. however he will then have to charge a bit more to make the same profit. Everyone pays that additional amount, whether they parked, or whether they walked, or whether or not they drove with someone else.

The other issue is that the true cost of parking then gets blended into the background and it is difficult to understand exactly what parking costs. Its part of the infrastructure. There are many costs that go into the garage including the additional costs of the building during construction, overhead, maintenance, operations, security and cleaning; electricity, insurance and the like. Some gets lost in the shuffle.

In the end, customers don’t understand the true cost of driving and parking their car. They are being subsidized.  I’m not certain this subsidization is a good thing.  In New York City the true cost of parking is charged and its that charge that keeps the city from being choked by cars. In Los Angeles the parking is subsidized a substantial amount and the freeways are jammed.

My guess is that if the price to park in LA was doubled, the income would remain the same but the number of cars would be reduced, making the place a much more livable city.

Just my opinion


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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