Monday, October 20, 2003

Supply, Demand and Accusations of Gouging

The Detroit Free Press reports that Consumer Advocates and Detroit City Council members are accusing Parking lot owners of gouging and breaking a city ordinance by charging more for parking for Detroit Lions Games than for non-event days.

Can anyone say supply and demand?

Ok, we can debate the nature of the fans who demand to see Lions games but Ford Field IS a nice facility).

Parking during a non-event time is by nature less in demand and thus cheaper than during a high-demand event. Verily, it has been said that there is plentiful parking in the area at 2 a.m. that can even be found for free!

Why should Consumer Advocates be against this, after all doesn't it encourage people to car pool, or at least to be active consumers and shop around for parking? The article itself notes there were parking lots with rates between $15-$50 depending on how close to the stadium you parked. All consumers would need to do is simply not park in the $50 priced lot, and watch as the rates go down at the lot and then park there at the new price, but as long as people want the convenience of close parking to watch the Lions play, the price will stay up.

The ordinance itself, that ordains that a price must be approved and then remain the same for 60 consecutive days (ie if the price is $50 on Sunday, then every Sunday for 60 days apparently must be the same $50 according to how one council member interprets the law) flies in the face of basic economics, not to mention it will certainly have a damper on the development of more parking for downtown Detroit.

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