Archives for parking



Diplomatic Parking Tickets

Usually, it’s New York City that complains bitterly about its diplomat parking ticket situation. The U.N. may be a beacon of hope and peaceful negotiation around the world, but it brings with it workers who use their immunity to park in front of fire hydrants, red zones, and anywhere else they please – it’s the stuff of urban legends and West Wing episodes.

Washington, D.C. is getting in on this complaining game. According to a new article on WTOP.com. D.C. takes the #2 spot with a diplomat ticket total of more than $500,000. New York City is owed a grand total of $17.2 million.

In 2003, the state department issued dire warnings to embassies in New York and D.C. threatening to withhold foreign assistance if parking tickets were not paid. So far though, it seems no foreign assistance has been withheld. Read More »



An Apparent Non-Money Pricing Anomaly

The City of Austin offers airport parking in three tiers, from garage ($20/day), to close-in surface ($10/day), to distant surface ($7/day). Frequent parkers accumulate points entitling them to free parking days.
The incentives for redeeming the points are bizarre:

Garage 2500 points

Close In 2500 points

Long Term 2500 points

The “price” of a free parking day is the same for the very desirable garage, where I never park if I have to pay $$, and for the close-in parking (where I park for $$ if staying fewer than 5 days) as well as for the long-term (where I park only if staying more than 4 days). Seeing this, we will redeem our 10,000 points for four days in the garage—parking for “free” anywhere else makes no sense. Now if the airlines would only charge the same number of frequent-flyer miles for a trip to Australia as they do for a trip to New York, I would be even better off!



A Corruption/Parking Tickets Map

Forbes‘s Jon Bruner has made a cool map of economists Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel‘s paper “Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets” (noted here earlier). The paper measured diplomats who used their immunity to dodge parking fines, resulting in a list of violations per U.N. diplomat. Kuwait tops the list at 246 violations per diplomat. The map is paired with corruption scores from Transparency International, Bruner notes:

Fisman and Miguel set out to use the parking data to understand the impact of social norms on official corruption. The idea is that diplomatic parking violations are essentially consequence free, except for any approbation that might come from the diplomat’s home state. A political culture that doesn’t mind its diplomats racking up parking tickets might not mind outright corruption.

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The Right Price for Parking

The City of Austin sells valet parking companies the right to use a parking space for $250 per year. Is that the right price? I doubt it. Read More »



Ticketfree Responds

I received the following email from Kyle Tower, one of the lead members of the Ticketfree team, responding to my earlier post on speeding insurance. Read More »



Never Pay a Speeding Ticket Again?

A couple weeks ago, Ian Ayres became briefly fascinated and somewhat appalled by the appearance of a new Internet business that offered a sort of insurance against speeding tickets. In return for an annual fee of $169, ticketfree.org promised to reimburse you for the costs of up to $500 in moving violations. Then, the site suddenly disappeared. Why? Read More »



Bad News For Meter-Maids

The parking meter has been almost unchanged since I started driving in 1959: one meter per space; put your money in the slot.

In my driving in Northern Europe I never see parking meters; I buy a piece of paper at a parking automat (typically one per block), put it on my dashboard. Why the difference? Read More »



Pareto Parking

We parked our car at the Austin airport for six days, and my brother then picked it up to use during his three-day visit to my mother. He left it in airport parkinglot when he flew off three days later, a few hours before we returned. Read More »