However, the losses were mitigated thanks to an extra $2.5 million accrued from on-street parking and $2 million more in parking fine dollars than in 2015. All told, the agency raked in $83.5 million in total revenues last year, a modest increase from 2015 despite the significant losses from what was traditionally its primary money makers. Nearly $20 million was also returned to the city, a proportion of its net income for what continues to be a profitable and self-sustaining business unit. While the fact fewer commuters are battling for 2.5-metre by 5-metre berths might be cause for alarm for an agency that relies on providing enough pavement to meet parking demands, it’s a future the Calgary Parking Authority says it’s preparing for. “It’s a total shift in the type of demand we’re seeing,” said Mike Derbyshire, a retired Edmonton cop who now heads the Calgary Parking Authority. “I hate to use the term ‘it’s a race to the bottom,’ but you can now get parking on 9 Ave. on the city’s west side for just $5 a day.” It’s a reality that’s come into sharp focus during Calgary’s latest economic slump, with some 18,300 full-time positions lost in the city last year and a downtown office vacancy rate nearing 30 per cent . Derbyshire said due to the financial hard times, the parking authority has frozen its own parking rates for the last two years, while simultaneously reducing the prices in some of its downtown parkades alongside private operators in the core. Some private parking companies, desperate to replace dwindling revenues, resorted to online parking deals  last year. The economic slump comes on the heels of a super-heated economy that Derbyshire said likely skewed Calgary’s parking prices — regularly ranked among the highest on the planet — to levels that were hardly sustainable.

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