Thursday, January 01, 2015

Atlantic City International Airport (KACY) patrons take parking rate hike in stride

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Perhaps everyone was in a jovial holiday mood. Maybe they had placed “I will not complain” at the top of their New Year’s resolutions for 2015.

Or, as some of them bluntly suggested, it’s only a dollar.

Whatever the reason, passengers at Atlantic City International Airport had a surprisingly docile reaction to higher parking rates that took effect New Year’s Day.

“It’s just one more dollar,” said Marie Brown, as she and her daughter, Nicole, prepared to board a Spirit Airlines flight to Fort Myers, Florida. “We come from Philadelphia, so I really can’t complain about the parking rates at this airport, because in Philadelphia they’re a heck of a lot higher.”

The Browns, who live in Philadelphia, said they enjoy flying out of Atlantic City International because it is more convenient — and parking is much cheaper — than their hometown airport.

The South Jersey Transportation Authority, the state agency that owns Atlantic City International, has raised the parking charge by $1 for the airport garage and surface lots. The garage rate was increased from a flat rate of $12 per day to $13. The economy rates at the surface parking lots are up from $9 to $10 per day.

The rate for short-term parking has gone from $1 in the first hour to $2. The maximum daily charge for short-term parking has increased from $13 to $20.

Overall, the higher fees will boost airport parking revenue by $1 million annually, from a total of $6.4 million in 2014 to a projected $7.4 million this year, the transportation authority’s budget figures show.

Kevin Rehmann, an authority spokesman, said even with the increase, economy parking at Atlantic City International will remain cheaper than the rates at airports in Philadelphia, Newark, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

Airport parking rates were last raised in 2010, at the economy lots. This is the first increase in the short-term rates since 2005. It is the first time the garage fee has gone up since the facility opened in 2008, the authority said.

Spirit passengers John and Chris Girone, of Jackson Township, Ocean County, said they were aware that parking fees had stayed the same in recent years. They didn’t mind the new, higher rates.

“Like everything else, things go up,” Chris Girone said, shrugging her shoulders. “But this airport is still very convenient. It’s nice, and certainly the parking isn’t like at Newark.”

Tim Pickett, of Farmingdale, Monmouth County, also said that parking fees at Atlantic City International remain a bargain compared to those at the Newark airport.

“That’s pretty reasonable,” he said of the $1 increase. “I don’t see anyone objecting to that. Just compare that to flying out of Newark, where it’s a lot more.”

Pickett was at the airport Thursday to drop off his daughter, Shannon, who was catching a Spirit flight to Fort Myers. He said he normally flies out Atlantic City about 10 to 20 times each year to go to his condo in Naples, Fla.

“Believe me, I know what it’s like to park here,” Pickett said. “But I don’t mind the increase. It’s only a buck.” 

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