At Tuesday’s City Council meeting the group made the decision to hike parking meter rates downtown by .25 cents. This would mean that those people brave enough to travel downtown to patronize a restaurant or go to an event will now be out $1.50 an hour.
The vote was 10 to 1 and they also extended parking meter hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. It used to be just until 6 p.m. which gave people some free time for parking. Out of their magnanimity they have left the prices off for Sunday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, 4th of July and Thanksgiving.
It’s hard enough to find a parking space downtown and crime has always got to be a consideration at nighttime. But our genius Council members couldn’t resist the greed of more money. They expect they’ll gather $1.4 million for the city, “maybe more,” said Berlin Boyd. Martavius Jones was the sole holdout.
But will they make more? It reminds me of the axiom that the more you tax something, the less of it you will sell. Tax less and you’ll find more people willing to purchase something, or in this case, go downtown.
Looks to me that the people to profit from this will be Uber and Lyft drivers. Faced with all the difficulties of going downtown, many will just opt for taking an Uber and skipping the hassle and the increased fee.
In the end, they may end up with less from the meters than they had before. But that’s not a surprise from our city government that can’t ever see the long term consequences of their actions.