Here is a sign that depicts the off street (garage) rates for one of the city owned facilities in San Francisco. The type at the bottom says
Weekday off peak discounts
Enter before 7:30 AM – Stay at least 3 hours — $2.00 discount
Exit after 7:00 PM — Stay at least 3 Hours — $2.00 discount
Early Bird — Enter before 7:30 AM and exit after 7 PM — $12.00
Daily Maximum or Lost Ticket $27.00
So the question my correspondent asked was: How do you compute these rates? I suggest that the rules for the rate boundaries need to be clarified. (When does the rate change from $2.50 and hour to $3 and hour. Assume you came in at 8:30 AM and left at 9:29 AM. Do you pay $2:50 (the entrance rate) or $3 (The rate when you exit.)? What is the rate on weekends?
There are also some other interesting questions about this rate structure. Why should a person leaving after 7PM get a discount. If they came in, say at noon and left at 11 PM. They would hit the daily max, but get a $2 discount. It is OK, just strange. It might make more sense to give the discount if they entered after 7 PM depending on when the garage has its greatest use. Oh, and when does the day start? Is it midnight to midnight. This is important someone coming in at 1 PM and leaving at 11 AM the next day, having stayed only 22 hours would pay $27 (daily max) if the ‘day’ was 24 hours from time of entry, but would pay $54 if the ‘day’ was from midnight to midnight. That’s not an inconsequential sum.
My correspondent says that his revenue control supplier told him that the rate structure as written was not programmable into his fee computer.
I wonder if a parking operator was consulted before this rate structure was implemented? We know that the rates are being set with the Shoupista market rates in mind, but they also have to be computable, either by machine or humans. Adding the words “or portion thereof” might remove some of the confusion but then I defy the city to find a parker who would be able to determine how much they owed by looking at this sign. If this is a Pay on Foot Garage, it will be even worse.