Metro / Robson Fletcher Nicole Saxton, left, and Chelsea Smyth say they were shocked when they returned from a Saturday night event and a Vinci Park pay machine at The Bow informed them they owed $70 more than the $5 they initially believed was the cost to park.

Parking in Calgary is known to be expensive, but two Mount Royal University students say the $75 fee they were charged for an extra 20 minutes in the lot beneath The Bow is downright ridiculous.

“The parking price was listed as $5 after 6 p.m., which we thought was reasonable,” said Nicole Saxton, who was attending a conference at the Hyatt Hotel with friends earlier this month. “After the event, we were surprised that the charge came up as $75.”

Chelsea Smyth said the group was incredulous at first.

“We thought it was a joke, like somebody was playing a prank on us,” she said. “We can’t afford to pay $75. How do you justify that?”

Morten Paulsen, who handles public relations for The Bow, referred parking-related inquiries to the company that runs the lot, Vinci Park, but Vinci did not return calls from Metro.

There are signs posted as drivers enter the lot that say: “Overstay penalty of $75 flat per day,” but Saxton said she didn’t notice them on the way in, and after seeing them later thought they were confusing.

She also noted a different sign on an indoor parking payment machine says: “Flat Rate (Enter after 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. next day): $5.00.”

Saxton said the group parked at about 7 p.m. and stayed for four hours and 20 minutes.

She said she later called Vinci and spoke with a company employee, who told her the $75 fee applies if you are parked there one minute over four hours.

“This policy is ridiculous,” Saxton said. “If more people knew about this policy, I don’t think many would be parking here.”

Clearly posted? What do you think?

The first sign is located on the ticket dispenser as you drive into The Bow parkade. The next sign is on the payment machine inside the building. Are the fees clear?

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