BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has prompted high parking prices in downtown Buffalo. Before tip-off, parking reached as high as $50.
Many out-of-towners News 4 spoke to summed it up in one word: gouging.
A Pay 2 Park lot on Perry Street boosted its prices from $40 to $50 before the tournament started, Thursday at noon. The included photo was taken about 20 minutes before the price was raised. Under Pay 2 Park’s permit with the city, they are allowed to charge up to $75 for parking. There is a minimum of $5.
Bob from Cortland, NY said, “That’s unfortunate. It doesn’t reflect well on Buffalo or the arena. I think it’s unnecessary, the extra money they’re making.”
Tyler Hill from Syracuse added, “I only brought $20 for parking. But it’s well worth [paying extra]. It’s an NCAA game.”
Right across the street from the $50 parking lot, the arena is charging $20 in the lot and $25 in the parking ramp, which is even closer.
Joan O’Donnell from Cincinnati said, “But you see, that [expensive lot] is the first one you come to, so we paid $40.”
No one would answer our question on why the lot raised its prices from $40 to $50 with just a half hour before tip off. News 4 called developer Mark Croce, who owns the lot, and he hung up on our reporter.
Albany resident Larry Kroft said, “We were already in the lot when they changed the price after we got in. It’s absolutely absurd and illegal. The sign said $40. I saw this idiot come up with the sign, we were already in the lot. We had a discussion with the guy and he said 50 bucks or leave.”
City parking commissioner Kevin Helfer says city-owned lots top out at $8 to park. He wouldn’t say whether he feels these lots are gouging customers, but said, “I wouldn’t park there.”
“It’s a private lot. They get a private license and they have to stay within the allowed range. There’s a minimum and maximum price,” he explained.
Round 2 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tipped off Thursday at noon at the First Niagara Center. The tournament is expected to give a big boost to area businesses, including food trucks that are set up near the First Niagara Center.