Demand-based parking is a relatively new concept that is currently only being used in San Francisco but due to parking congestion, large cities nationwide will likely soon be creating their own versions of demand-based parking.
With this system, meter rates go up or down based on demand, which encourages faster turnover on overly crowded (more expensive) blocks and increased use of underutilized parking (where the fee is cheaper). According to the MTA, San Francisco is the first in the U.S. to implement such a program citywide but more are soon to follow.
Meter pricing is currently a minimum of 50 cents per hour and a maximum of $8 per hour. Rates are set block by block and rates change throughout the day to reflect peak hours and off hours. Beginning in January 2018, the city will start adjusting those rates every three months. If a block is consistently at 80 percent or more occupancy, the hourly rate will go up 25 cents. If it’s at 60 to 80 percent occupancy, the rate will stay the same. Below 60 percent, the price drops by 25 cents.
When the city implemented these new rates on the public parking lots and garages private parking lots throughout San Francisco also increased their rates. If you review rates on BestParking.com the average daily parking rate is now almost $30.
The fact is consumers are now taking the cost of parking into account when deciding to go to a restaurant, a movie or pretty much any other activity that involves them having to drive somewhere and park their car.
Savvy business owners have realized this and are implementing ways to offer free parking to their customers. This is usually done in three ways.
- Create Your Own Valet Parking Service – ACTUALLY GENERATES ADDITIONAL REVENUE
- Hire a Valet Parking Service – Not as much of an initial cost but still an ongoing expense
- Validating Parking – this is usually the most costly option