November 24, 2005

Parking Fees

I have gone through all the minutes of the Airport Commission in 2005, except November, and am surprised how little discussion is given to parking rates. The only time it was ever even mentioned was in the September meeting. Parking rates may actually be one of the most important decisions that the airport commission works on. Maybe the minutes of the November meeting will show a more in depth discussion as to why we will be charging for parking???

There are eight reasons why I feel parking should be free:
  1. IMG Report recommended free parking
  2. IMG Report explained our primary trade area as people who are within a 20 minute ride. Why would any of these people pay for parking when they can simply be dropped off and picked up?
  3. In September, 2003, we all worked to get small community air service grant from the DOT. After Congressman McGovern stepped in, ORH received a grant of $455,000. For the record, we were denied this grant the prior two years and it was Congressman McGovern who should be credited for making it happen. In the application it was explained we would offer 6 months of free parking. Why have we changed out mind?
  4. It is not fair to people who bought tickets when Allegiant was first announced and before the parking rates were announced. Maybe one of their reasons to fly Allegiant out of ORH was free parking?
  5. Although I tried to get this confirmed, I am guessing that the system to collect money will be unmanned. The automated systems are simply a pain and will cause problems. You will need to bring your parking tickets inside the terminal, pay the automated system, get your ticket stamped and remember to bring it with you to get through the gate.
  6. Other secondary airports around the country who are within one hour of major metropolitan airports do not charge for parking.
  7. If I park my car in the Worcester State shuttle lot, how will anyone know if I am a Worcester State student or flying Allegiant to Florida.
  8. Leisure travelers, our target market, will not understand an automated parking system unlike the business traveler. I can seriously see people jumping in their cards proceeded to the exit gate looking for an attendant.

In the end the revenue forecast will not be met, people in Worcester will not pay for parking, the unmanned system will cause problems and the image of conveniece that IMG says we need to profess will not be met. As good as it was to land Allegiant charging for parking is a huge mistake!!!

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