Skip to main content

Chipping In for Film Fest Parking

I love the Cleveland Film Fest. Every March dozens of excellent films are shown during a ten day period in downtown Cleveland. It's also a bit expensive for those of us on a budget. Non-members pay $12 per film this year - that's a 33% premium over the regular ticket price at a Cleveland Cinemas theater, and film fest organizers are always quick to remind everyone that, even at $12, tickets are heavily subsidized by the corporate sponsors.

(from Flickr user Jess J)

But hey, don't worry, at least you won't have to pay to park your car at Tower City, where all-day parking can cost up to 12 dollars during the week and 6 bucks on the weekend. If you're attending the film fest, it's free. They think it's so important that they even put it in all caps on the website - FREE PARKING.

Except that it isn't actually free. Somebody is paying. We're all paying, by forking over $12 for a movie ticket instead of less. The corporate sponsors are paying. If you've ever been to a film fest and seen how many people attend, you know that all those validated parking tickets add up pretty quickly.

If you ride a bike to the film fest or you live downtown and walk, good for you, but don't expect much more than a pat on the back. If you have a monthly RTA pass, you get a $2 discount on in-person ticket purchases. But not if you have a 7-day pass, or a daily pass. In fact, it's really not much of a discount at all since there are so many promo codes floating around for $2 off online purchases that anyone can use.

Now, I understand the argument that Tower City Cinemas normally needs to subsidize parking because competition from suburban multiplexes with oceans of free parking is just to great. But the film fest is different. It's unique. There is no competition from the corporate suburban theaters. Many of the films sell-out in advance and every seat goes filled. It's tough to argue that there is a shortage of people who want to attend, and that subsidized parking is such an utter necessity.


LKBM said…
Offering free parking makes the cost of attending more transparent. Hidden costs anger people more than higher prices do, even if it's less fair and ultimately more expensive.

A better solution would probably be to make a 'No parking' discount ticket. (It'll make people happier than a higher-priced 'Parking Included' ticket.)
B. P. Beckley said…
It's tough to argue that there is a shortage of people who want to attend, and that subsidized parking is such an utter necessity.

You know there's no shortage of people when "free" parking is offered, but you don't actually know what the situation would be if you didn't have it. Who's going to risk complete failure of the event?

I like the idea of discount movie tickets for people who don't drive, but that would be a hassle for people with more than one movie-attending person in a car. Hassle = potential "what a ripoff" situation, and that's not good.
Rob Pitingolo said…
For the record, my understanding is that Forest City Enterprises "donates" the free parking because they own the Tower City garage. Given the reputation of Forest City, I wonder how significant the tax benefit of that "donation" is to their bottom line.

LKBM and BP, I agree that the framing should be as a "discount" for non-drivers, but the logistical challenge is: how do you prove that you didn't drive?

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Mixing Sports and Business

In the last two days I've devoured every article in the Washington Post about the Nationals painful and epic defeat on Friday night in the NLDS. It was a tough way to see the season end, there's no doubt about that.

(from wallyg on Flickr)
These articles make it clear that there are a lot of people emotionally invested in professional sports. I think they sometimes they forget that, ultimately, Major League Baseball is big business. Each team is a major corporation and the league itself is an organization governed by a bunch of executives. The television networks that show the games are under contract with the team owners and the games aren't usually available to those without cable.

This is why it can be so hard to be a fan in this game. It's the multi-millionaire and billionaire owners that call most of the shots. They get to decide how much they're willing to spend on players. They get to decide who to hire as the CEO of the company. They get to decide how much t…