New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan said the state is now looking at consumer protection issues connected to accusations of private parking lots overcharging in Buffalo's Theater District. The accusations are focused on Pay2Park which operates several parking lots near Shea's Performing Arts Center.
Ryan said his office has received complaints from people who feel parking rates in the Pay2Park lots are being raised to "extraordinary" levels during events at Shea's.
Assemblyman Ryan is also concerned by Pay2Park's policy of booting or towing cars that have not paid or properly displayed a ticket.
Buffalo developer Rocco Termini agrees. Termini tells 7 Eyewitness News that years of encouraging people to come downtown is being undone by the high parking prices and polices at the private lots.
"What really has me upset is that we are gouging for special events," said Termini, who added that he would like to see an investigation by the NYS Attorney General.
Currently, signs on the Pay2Park lots say prices range from $5 to $75 and warn customers that vehicles can be "immobilized" for lack of pre-payment or not displaying a ticket from an automated machine.
Joe Puinno, President of Pay2Park, told reporter Ed Reilly there are only limited parking spaces near Shea's, and just like you would pay more for a front row seat in the theater, the parking spaces closest to Shea's are considered VIP spots which can cost more.
As to the booting and towing of cars, Puinno said it is a necessary step his company is taking to prevent having someone steal free parking.
Ed Reilly has more on this story, including talking to a new business owner near Shea's who feels Pay2Park and its policies are scaring away his customers.