Monday 10 March 2014

Dynamic pricing: parking edition

I love this.
Palmerston North has become home to what may be the world’s most high-tech carpark, where the amount drivers pay depends on how many spaces are available.

The 33-space carpark in the city’s Church Street has been kitted out with solar-powered sensors by local parking technology firm Frogparking that can tell which parks are occupied. Drivers pay for parking through their smartphone.

Frogparking has been providing ticketless parking systems to Palmerston North for a few years, but director Don Sandbrook said the new system was its most advanced yet, with cheaper parking if there were lots of spaces available and higher prices if they were nearly all taken. The tariff ranges from 50 cents to $2 an hour.

Regular patrons can use a GPS-enabled windscreen tag that will automatically bill their credit card, but there is no cash option.

Sandbrook said there was plenty of on-street parking nearby for “little old ladies” who found the technology complicated. “If you don’t have a smartphone, we don’t want you to park in the carpark.”
Even better if you could launch the app while still driving to see whether it's worth aiming for that lot or heading elsewhere.
Drivers pay only for the time they are parked and local retailers can send codes to customers’ smartphones that entitle them to have their parking fees refunded if they take up shopping offers.

A local cafe, Cafe Moxies, has been the first to do that, but three other retailers are offering parkers in-store discounts.
The comments section is predictably full of folks who hate the use of prices to ration scarce resources. Those raging against that parking prices could vary by up to $1.50 per hour should be grateful for the lack of adversity in their lives allowing them to feel aggrieved by so little.

Many thanks to reader Eli Gray-Stuart for the pointer.


  1. I couldn't believe parking in Newmarket (Auckland) was something like $0.50 per hour - where in Wellington it's often $6 - $8 per hour.

  2. This is a very good case completely undermined by the company director's inept public relations. He /so/ did not need to take that gratuitous swipe at little old ladies.

  3. Col dude, I can pay, I always take out cripples parks when there are six, and no one there, i'm tough eric ,

  4. I'd like to see this put into practice on a metropolitan DC-wide basis

  5. Would his story have made the paper had he not? Guessing he there was responding to a reporter's question asking "Well, what about little old ladies who don't have smartphones."

    We pay far too much deference to little old ladies anyway. Policy would be better if they were downweighted in the social welfare function.

  6. Where is the benefit from the story having made the paper? An excellent idea has been presented to the public in a negative light which may slow down the deployment of similar approaches elsewhere.
    I'd love to see some examples of policies that would be better if the interests of little old ladies were downweighted!

  7. Well, had his story not made the local paper, it wouldn't have gotten here, wouldn't have made Marginal Revolution, and then wouldn't have gotten in front of a huge international audience that might never otherwise have heard of it.

    A few examples of policies that would likely be better if the interests of little old ladies were downweighted. Or, at least, these are the ones I'd bet on. I haven't run the particular gender-age public opinion survey breakdowns.

    1. Housing policy and zoning (look at the pictures from any public meeting where people are objecting to some new development.)
    2. Superannuation policy.
    3. Drug policy.

  8. parking if takes place in the for the sound parking of the cars at various places,
    Parking doesn't pay any sort of negligence as far as the entire care of the car is concerned.

  9. Parking charges keep changes and a variety of deals are offered ll the time. So, whenever you book a parking spot dont forget to compare and confirm the charges. gatwick airport parking is a good option to attain quality services at cheap prices.