Airport parking
5:51 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Vote Delayed On Lambert Parking, Ground Transportation Rates

A proposal that would have boosted parking rates at Lambert Airport just before the start of the busy holiday travel seasons is on hold for now.

Commissioners were expected to vote today on a proposal that would boost the rates for parking at the garages for Terminals 1 and 2, as well as three of the airport's four surface lots, plus made a series of changes to the rates charged to ground transportation like taxis, hotel shuttles, and charter buses. The parking rates would have gone up Nov. 1, though the ground transportation rates would have changed in January.

But airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says airport officials decided to wait after hearing from confused passengers.

"We thought we had done a good job of getting out there," Hamm-Niebruegge said. "I think for us, we felt it would be better if there are questions, and there seems to be confusion and there’s not enough people that are aware of it, that we do more do that."

Currently, the airport charges $2.50 per hour or fraction thereof at the terminal garages. The new proposal would charge $5 for every two hours or fraction thereof. Hamm-Niebruegge says the change  is designed to encourage people to use Lambert’s free cell phone lots, freeing up space for longer-term parking in those garages. The garage at Terminal 2 is full almost every day, she said, and the Terminal 1 lot is consistently 80 to 90 percent full.

"From a business case, it absolutely makes sense. But at the end of the day, that business case needs to make sense to everybody," Hamm-Niebruegge said.

Hamm-Niebruegge says the parking and ground transportation fee increases will generate about $1 million. Some of that, she said, could lower what it costs the airlines to operate at Lambert, perhaps encouraging more flights.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann