Parking prices in central Wellington are going up, and up, and up. I feel like having a moan about it.
The price of a days casual parking is between $17 and $25, plus a 50c transaction fee if you pay electronically (i.e. almost everyone). On the waterfront where the daily fee is $24 to $25 the monthly parking cost is $550 inc GST. I don't know the price of monthly parking at the Boulcott area building where the daily fee is $17, but it was $260 early 2017 and $300 late 2017 - the increase was due to "an increase in insurance premiums due to earthquakes". I guess it's gone up again since then - does anyone know? Wilson say the lower priced buildings in that area aren't taking permanent parking customers as they're full.
Another way to look at those parking fees: to park your car for a month you're paying around the same as your rent or mortgage for a week. You are renting space, and paying for it is fair, but I suspect even counting the common areas of the parking building you pay significantly more per square meter than you do for an apartment in a similar area. Supply and demand is key as well - if you have people willing to pay $550 a month for parking why wouldn't you charge them that? However it's also somewhat of a public service, and is essential for people with jobs where they have to move or people with disabilities, so that should be considered.
Wilson Parking took over pretty much all the parking in the Wellington CBD in 2013. As far as I can tell there is no other significant sized parking provider within a 5 minute walk of the lower Willis St area. They have a monopoly.
Commerce Commission 201 Investigation
In 2015 the Commerce Commission issued a report on the potential cost increases due to lack of competition in major areas. They came to the conclusion that public transport and competitors in key areas would constrain price rises. Based on what I can see, that conclusion may not be accurate and should perhaps be reconsidered. I wonder if city councils should look into providing parking buildings, even if just to increase competition.
Here's some highlights from the Commerce Commission 2015 report.
7. On 1 July 2013 Wilson Parking acquired 63 car park leases and management agreements in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch from Tournament.
8. Given that Wilson Parking and Tournament were New Zealand’s first and second largest car parking providers, we had concerns that the Acquisition may have substantially lessened competition in breach of section 47 of the Commerce Act.
Areas we focussed on in our investigation
10. After an initial prioritisation exercise, we focused our investigation on car parking areas where the loss of Tournament removed a significant competitive constraint. These areas were Symonds Street and Parnell Rise in Auckland and Boulcott Street in Wellington.
Outcome of our investigation
11. In our view, the evidence does not support a conclusion that the Acquisition has resulted in a substantial lessening of competition in the areas where we had concerns.
12. The evidence before us indicated that existing competition and potential new entry would be unlikely to constrain Wilson Parking in the Symonds Street and Parnell Rise areas. However, the customer survey we commissioned indicated that public transport may be a sufficient constraint on Wilson Parking’s ability to raise prices in these areas. Although this outcome is inconsistent with international literature and
views expressed by other market participants, it may be explicable on the basis that both areas have good public transport and are close to tertiary education institutions.
13. Based on the survey results and our analysis of existing competition in Boulcott Street, we concluded that other competitors will continue to constrain Wilson Parking in the Boulcott Street area.