Sky-high fees charged for some parking spots during NCAA games

Mar 17, 2017

What does $50 buy in downtown Buffalo? When the city is hosting an NCAA basketball tournament, that's how much a parking spot might cost at certain times in prime lots.

Yet some bargain-hunting fans were paying as little as $8-to-$10 to park in lots and ramps during the first round of the tournament Thursday.

This isn't the first time some downtown lots have charged premium prices for parking. When the NCAA tournament was held in Buffalo in 2014, some lots were charging $40-to-$50.
Credit WBFO file photo

Dunkirk resident Douglas Lockett said it was obvious some tournament attendees were willing to pay for proximity.

“People are lazy, so they want to pay that extra money because they want to be close. It’s cold out here, but it’s worth the walk,” Lockett told WBFO Thursday. “It’s a nice day out. The sun is out so it’s not bad.”

Olean resident Gene Bantelman said she was a bit surprised so many people were willing shell out between $20 and $50 for spots.

“We’re supposed to be in a fitness craze, so I don’t understand why they don’t want to walk farther or park farther,” she said.

Prior to the start of the tournament city officials and leaders in the tourism industry reminded people that parking fees in city-owned ramps.

Joe Rossi of Youngstown witnessed workers at some downtown lots adjusting parking fees as in between games.
“They’re changing signs as we’re driving around,” he said. “[There’s] no consistency.”

WBFO's Brandon Gonzalez contributed to this report.