Airports Lose Out As Travelers Cut Back On Parking
LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
From member station WPLN in Nashville, Blake Farmer reports.
BLAKE FARMER: More air travelers are acting like Mandy Walden(ph).
MANDY WALDEN: Will you call me when you're out front please?
FARMER: Walden's boyfriend dropped her off last week for her flight out of the Nashville Airport. Now she's waiting, somewhat impatiently, for her ride home.
WALDEN: I wish I had my own car parked somewhere in the parking lot because I wouldn't be standing here in these high heels.
FARMER: But she says the slight delay is worth the $50 she'll save not parking her car. At the baggage carousel, Stephanie Cook(ph) says flying with a family of four is expensive as it is.
STEPHANIE COOK: We have to pay for the luggage also, so anywhere we can cut back, we try to do that.
FARMER: But where travelers are choosing to cut back is causing trouble for mid-size airports, from Raleigh-Durham to Jacksonville, Florida. Parking is their largest source of revenue.
RAUL REGALADO: There seems to be a paradigm shift taking place.
FARMER: Raul Regalado is CEO of Nashville International Airport, where parking has dropped 16 percent. To be more competitive, the airport is now matching coupons to off-site parking lots. If that doesn't fill the spaces, Regalado says the airport could start charging airlines more, which would ultimately be passed on.
REGALADO: If this is a long term situation, it could have a negative impact on the service provided to the community.
FARMER: For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer in Nashville.
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