Mayor Walsh says meter fare bump, surge pricing could be on horizon in Boston - Metro US

Mayor Walsh says meter fare bump, surge pricing could be on horizon in Boston


Saying $1.25 is too cheap on many streets, Boston’s mayor is eyeing a hike in parking meter prices for the city.

“The bottom line is: $1.25 an hour isn’t working in our busiest areas,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a prepared address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. “I like offering a good deal, but not at the price of stress and gridlock on our streets.”

Long-term, Walsh said his office was considering a cost bump, and also planned to study a “flexible rates based on demand” system for select curbside spots.

RELATED: Haystack: City will prohibit apps that inflate Boston parking cost

Basically, Walsh’s comments suggest the city may go the way of ride-hailing app Uber and adopt surge pricing. The friend and foe of tech-powered transportation, surge pricing is designed to make it more likely, but more expensive to find the service you need when you need it (in Uber’s case making rides at peak times much pricier).

Having spaces go for $1.25 in high-traffic areas can lead to congestion, Walsh said, as drivers circle blocks trying to squeeze into a limited supply of spaces.

RELATED: ParkBoston app lets city pay for parking via smartphone

Jacking up the price in prime locations, the theory goes, could send drivers elsewhere.

Walsh said a similar program had been successful in San Francisco, and noted that Boston’s curbside parking rate, a flat five quarters citywide, is comparatively low.

Walsh also said the city would be taking on a new parking enforcement campaign. With help from a collaboration with way-finding app Waze, he said “a new class” of officers would work to cut down on double parking and enforce a policy called “don’t block the box,” the catchphrase referring to what happens when a driver blocks an intersection after failing to make it through a stoplight.

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