CLEVELAND - Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has proposed a new per-trip fee for shuttles and limo services. The airport said the fee will fund needed upgrades, but customers worried the cost will be passed on to them and mean longer wait times.
The $4 per trip fee would apply to each commercial ground transportation vehicle and replace the current $550 annual fee required for each vehicle.
Amid increased traffic, airport officials have told Cleveland City Council the change would raise an additional $1.8 million in annual revenue without increasing airline fees. They said the money raised would be used to fund a $3 million improvement to the Ground Transportation Center the vehicles use.
Airport officials said the change would also "level the playing field" with taxis and Uber and LYFT customers, who already pay the fee. They said it could also reduce traffic congestion.
"I feel like it's ridiculous cause we just come and drop off, we're not staying here and parking here," said hotel shuttle driver Danny Pupudnyk, who sometimes completes ten trips per day. He said the fee hike could force hotels to cut back.
The biggest impact could be felt at off-site parking lots like Park Place and Park 'N Fly. FOX 8 News counted 18 off-site parking lot shuttles going to and from the airport during a 15 minute window late Wednesday morning, an off-peak time.
Customers said they worry they'll be charged more and have to wait longer for shuttles.
"There's already a baggage fee and a seat charge," said Kimberly Roncaglione, from Canal Fulton. "t's just another inconvenience that may push families like ours to then ride in the car as opposed to using the airport."
Calls to the corporate offices of the off-site parking companies for comment were not returned.
Cleveland City Council is expected to vote on the proposal at its meeting next month. If approved, it would take effect at the start of 2019.