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Wrigley Field parking ‘surge pricing’ is on slippery slope to price gouging | Chicago Tribune

The urge to surge price is upon us, so get ready to pay up and up.

One of the more glaring examples of local “surge pricing” emerges next Monday around Wrigley Field, just in time for the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs’ home opener. Taking advantage of anticipated sky-high demand for parking, the city this year is doubling the meter rate to $4 an hour for up to seven hours for about 1,100 selected street spaces around the ballyard during games and concerts.

Hey, it could have been worse: City Hall floated the idea of $12 per hour before the City Council approved the current rate.

Yet Chicago’s Wrigley Field parking gambit is only the latest example of a growing movement toward surge pricing — the practice of making customers pay more during times of heavy or peak demand. Already, airlines and hotels are veterans at charging premium rates during busy times, but now — as high-tech sensors and pricing algorithms make it easier to anticipate demand and boost prices — many other industries are exploring surge pricing, including retail, ride-sharing, sports and entertainment venues, and maybe even health care.

Yes, some of this is just Economics 101, a free-market response to supply vs. demand. But it’s also tricky business and as this trend accelerates, you have to wonder if these measures always amount to legitimate surge pricing or thinly veiled price gouging.

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Wrigley Field parking ‘surge pricing’ is on slippery slope to price gouging – Chicago Tribune.