ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – New parking fee hikes at Lambert International airport are now being postponed. At the last minute, the St. Louis Airport Commission took the item off Wednesday’s meeting agenda.
Since paying more is never popular, airport officials wanted to take more time to explain the reasons to the public. Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says the rate hikes are part of a long-term plan to increase airport revenue.
Hamm-Niebruegge explains, “We know our airfield is underutilized, but to get the airlines to add that activity, to come to our airfield, they have to feel we’re doing everything we can as an airport to lower our costs and generate more revenue. So there’s a huge push from the airlines for us to look at that.”
So what changes, exactly, is the commission looking at? If the plan passes, Terminal 1 and 2 garages will increase to two-hour increments, so parking to pick up family and friends would cost $5 instead of $2.50. The overnight rate will increase from $21 dollars to $23.
The airport director hopes the added cost will encourage those picking up to use the free cell phone lots, freeing up the overcrowded garages for overnight parking. The potential new parking fees would bring in an extra $1.5 million per year.
Still, some folks who come to the airport to pick up loved ones aren’t pleased.
Henry Solomon enjoys waiting inside the terminal to meet his daughter when she comes home, instead of sitting in the car. Now that it could cost him double, he’s upset: “I think it’s terrible, I think its downright robbery because they’ve already paid for everything, you know let’s cut it down to where normal people can afford it.”
The changes also disappoint Ramona Schmidt, who went to Lambert to pick up her aunt. She says, “Everything else is going up, I guess that’s why they’re going up too, I don’t know, it’s too bad.”
Other plans to raise revenue include raising fees for shuttles, taxis and limos. The Airport Commission’s next meeting will be held November 7th. Officials say these parking rate increases should be voted on by the end of the year.