SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The price for parking downtown is putting parents on edge.
It's graduation week and thousands of people are filing into the Golden One Center. But to see their loved ones walk across the stage, they'll have to pay a hefty price-tag.
One parent told CBS13, "They're charging an arm and a leg to find a place to park."
If you take a drive around downtown Sacramento mid-afternoon this week, it's hard to try to find a spot. The lots are packed and some say the price is high. Many people we spoke with ahead of an 11 a.m. graduation ceremony paid between $20 and $45 dollars.
One parent told us, "I paid $30 dollars and had to walk two blocks."
Thousands of people are showing up to watch the students from Elk Grove Unified School District graduate. The district partnered up with the city to offer free SACRT light rail rides to the Golden 1 Center.
But those who own these parking garages are taking advantage of the busy day.
"The market is driven by the demand," said Matt Eierman.
Eierman is the city's Parking Services Manager.
He says during events you'll see higher prices, everywhere, and when parking is tighter, prices go up.
"They're seeing that $35 dollar parking fee because that's what the operator is getting for that parking session," Eierman said.
He says it's not price gauging and completely legal. Eierman said there's only one way to get around the hefty fee, find your spot ahead of time, online.
"If you go SacPark.org, you can see all the available parking spaces and there are thousands of them. There, pricing is transparent," Eierman said.
We found the city's program has options for graduation between $5 to 20 dollars to park. The closer the spot is to the arena, the more expensive the price.
But, you have to book ahead, and if you don't, "You may end up paying for that mistake," Eierman said.
You could be paying about $15 dollars or 25% more if you just show up to the lot on the day of the event.
Most people we spoke with say they just showed up. Most of them had no idea the city's online system exists. The system doesn't account for people who can't walk long distances, are handicapped, or for people who don't know how to use a computer.
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