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Cruise Parking Fees Are Likely to Rise — Here’s Why

Update: The Wharves Board of Trustees voted unanimously to increase the fees charged to parking lots and shuttles. While most rates went up a moderate amount, the amount charged to independent lots soared from $8 per parking spot, per month, to $28.88 (a 261% increase!). With this in mind, it’s almost assured that parking prices across the island will rise in the near future. For more information, we highly suggest this article from The Galveston Daily News.

The next meeting of the Wharves Board of Trustees will likely be a contentious one.

This board, which directs the future of the Port of Galveston, is set to vote on Monday on whether to raise parking lot fees. Our opinion is that the board is likely to vote for an increase.

We have told you before about this issue. Right now the port charges fees to the numerous parking lots and hotels with shuttles to the port. According the Galveston Daily News, the port charges private lots $8 per month and hotel shuttles have to pay $10 per trip to the port. So if a parking lot has a 100 parking spaces, they have to pay the port $800 a month in fees.

The parking lots see these fees as adequate. Of course, the port thinks the fees should be higher.

Right now the Port of Galveston has roughly $50 million in debt that it must pay. In addition, the port has continued to invest, bringing more and larger ships to Galveston.

The port sees the parking lots benefiting tremendously from the increased traffic from the investment into the Galveston cruise industry.

Meanwhile, these lots are also competing directly with the port’s parking lots. Right now the Port of Galveston’s official lots are the most expensive option on the island — usually costing $10-15 more for a 7-day cruise than the independent lots.

All of this adds up to what we think will be a vote for an increase in the charges placed on parking lots.

More evidence toward increased fees was cited by the Galveston Daily News, which stated:

“A port team, created at the behest of the wharves board, last year surveyed policies at other ports and airports and conducted an assessment of fees, including application and renewal fees.

In late November, the study team recommended the board consider raising access rates for hotel shuttles to $11.43 a trip from $10.

The study team also recommended raising rates to private parking lots to $9.14 per space from $8.”

Even that increase, however, was mentioned as not being enough by some members of the board.

We’ll update readers as we hear more information. The board is set to meet on Monday, May 18. You can also check the Galveston Daily News, who has closely followed this story.

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