Posted on November 9, 2012 at 8:13 AM
Friday, Nov 9 at 8:21 AM
AUSTIN -- Parking rates in downtown Austin will soon rise.
On Thursday, Austin City Council members approved a rate increase for valet companies.
Currently, city staff said the average valet company uses four metered spaces. Each one costs $250 a year to secure. Those companies pay, on average, $1,000 a year for all four spaces.
However, the City of Austin’s Transportation Department put together a new pay scale.
According to the plan, instead of a flat, one time yearly fee for each space, valet companies will begin paying for each parking space by the hour. The plan will be implemented over the next three years.
Starting in 2013, valet companies will pay $0.20 for each space, every hour. In 2014, the price jumps to $0.40 per hour. In 2015, the charge increases a third time to $0.60 per hour. The price scale equates to a 1,000 percent mark-up.
The Greater Austin Restaurant Association had asked Austin City Council to spread out the implementation over a five-year period to allow valet companies more time to adapt. They said the new rate hike will likely force valet companies to pass the expense along to customers.
“It’s a tremendous issue and the valet companies took a million cars off the street last year in downtown. They parked a million cars,” said Greater ARA Board Member, Darryl Wittle, “Where would you put those cars if you didn’t have these valet spaces?”
City officials say the new pay scale is designed to recover the cost of city staff time spent working on valet issues and to urge valet companies to only use the exact amount of parking spaces they need.
The new rates begin in January.