Auburn City Council approves contract with new valet parking company downtown

VIDEO: Auburn City Council approves contract with new valet parking company downtown

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - With the motion approved, Auburn City Council moves forward with its one-year contract with a new valet parking service vendor.

The price any customer pays for this service will stay at one dollar an hour; city manager Jim Buston said people heading downtown could benefit from the service, especially on a surprisingly crowded Tuesday evening.

"I was surprised this evening, as I said, going down downtown Auburn," he said, "and seeing that all the parking spaces were full and it's a Tuesday. If it continues to happen, will prolong, extend the hours, the days."

Park, Inc., the new vendor providing the valet service, outbid the last company that had this contract with the city.

While the city expects to lose money once it pays $11.98 an hour per each valet driver on duty, Ward 3 councilor Beth Witten said she believes customers should have a better experience using this new service.

"We've had some issues... I've experienced because I try to use it as often," she said. "It's a great service and I wish more people would utilize it. Hopefully, with the new company with the new company, they will finesse their customer service a little bit."

Council outlined the service will run during high-volume times on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays that are not game days at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Buston said the city council expects that more cars - valet or not - equals more shoppers and more sales tax revenue. He also said given the potential quality of the valet service, people may want to keep it around even after the city builds its new multi-floor parking deck.

"A lot of people like the convenience of valet parking," Buston said, "and if that becomes a requirement by the citizenry saying, 'We know there's parking, but we want valet parking.' Then we will continue the valet parking."

Buston added that whenever the city finishes the new deck, which is predicted to happen next year, the city council will need to go and look at all its parking strategies holistically and decide what needs to be tweaked or changed.

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