AIRPORT DROP-OFF: Shuttles Disagree Over Fees

This is year is set to become the busiest year on record at the Des Moines Airport.

The board that governs the airport says with higher volume comes higher costs like security, maintenance, and signage.

The board says part of those costs should be funded by those who profit off airport traffic.

Cheap parking and a free shuttle.  It’s a part of the airport’s appeal.

“I think we’re all providing a service to the airport,” says Thom Wierenga, manager of Keck Parking’s 500-space lot across the street from the airport.

The lots can’t understand why the airport board wants to charge them a dollar every time one of their shuttles pulls in.

“It’s going to hurt us greatly,” he says. “Even if it’s a dollar per trip, we average 104 trips per day to the airport.”

Down the street, Jet Parking spoke up and protested to the board, but… “It’s just kind of on deaf ears,” says manager, Kelli Swanson. “They’re going to do what they want to do.”

The airport says its increased traffic has led to greater profits for the lots and city hotels, and it’s time they kicked in.

“There’s a fair amount of expense out there on the front drive that’s caused by the commercial operations,” says airport general manager, Kevin Foley, “and we feel that they should help pay some of that expense.”

“104 trips per day is $37,000 a year,” Wierenga says, “and we can’t just swallow that, we’d have to pass it on to the consumer, so it’s really a fee to the consumers that are flying out of the airport.”

The airport board says the increase should translate to only about 20 cents per parking spot, per day at Keck.

“We’re not trying to run anybody out of business,” says Jim Erickson, the vice-chairman of the airport authority board. “In fact, I hope they thrive and I’m sure Keck does a very good job. Mr. Keck is not broke.”

Erickson says for hotels, the increase translates to only about 10 cents per room, per day.

A small price to pay to stay connected to a business which continues to take off.

 

3 comments

  • RightOfReagan

    So I will now have to pay a slightly higher room rate at any hotel with an airport shuttle even though neither I nor my clients are using the airport at all?

    To get that $0.10 per room night figure, the airport bullies are spinning that all room nights are a result of the airport.

    It’s BS, and they know it.
    Who elected these little banana republic dictators anyway?

    They know these shuttles REDUCE traffic in front of the airport, not increase it. They just want to tax their competition because they can. So I suppose I will pay some sort of fee when I drop off a family member from now on as well. Or does that not kick in until 2015?

  • Jalan

    So let me see if I understand this. These private companies set up a business. That business is priced just below the prices of the airport’s official parking and shuttle operations. That business siphons customers and revenue away from the Des Moines Airport. That business drives shuttle buses 104 times over the Des Moines Airport roads that taxpayers and travelers fund the repairs and maintenance of. Yet that business not only doesn’t pay the Des Moines Airport for their contribution to the degradation of the facilities but they also siphon off the customers who otherwise would be paying for that upkeep leaving the rest of us to pay more for it. Those business aren’t delivering new business to the Des Moines Airport. People are going to fly out of Des Moines whether those businesses are there or not. No sympathy on this one. They should pay the fee.

  • Tracy Wald

    It might not be much but when accumulated becomes a big amount. Wh don’t they come to a compromise say, paying the airport per day instead of per trip. That sounds about just right and fair.

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