Free car parking at the airport is set to end next week.
Objections to the proposal have to be lodged by Sunday, June 30, giving little time for the public to register any complaints.
Paul Moncaster, TravelWatch Isle of Man’s treasurer, said: ‘We have a meeting on Thursday afternoon with the airport management, but really we don’t expect that to stop this, what we’re relying on more is that hopefully as many people as possible get their objections in before the deadline. If this goes through it’s going to be chaos outside the airport.
‘It’s being sold to us as a pricing change but it’s not, it’s a policy change.
‘Apart from the £1 for parking issue we have also heard that the old disc zone issue is going to be taken by car rental people so someone will be making money from it.’
Previously there had been a disc zone for a maximum of one hour parking. This was then replaced with an alternative disc parking zone which was accessed via the entrance to the hire car parking area, but to the north of it and further away from the terminal building.
TravelWatch say this was not used much because it was not properly signposted, an issue they raised with airport management several times. However few users were inconvenienced due to other car parks with the up to one hour free access.
When TravelWatch contacted airport management to request proper signposting for the one hour disc zone they were told this facility was also being withdrawn from July 1, something that had not been mentioned in the press notice or draft order which is available for public inspection.
TravelWatch believe that to no longer have a designated area for short term free parking represents a change of policy which should be subject to proper consultation and any changes should be deferred until after that has taken place.
Any objections must be sent in writing to The Airport Standards Manager, Isle of Man (Ronaldsway) Airport, Ballasalla, Isle of Man, IM9 2AS.
The Department of Infrastructure this afternoon (Monday) issued a statement.
It reads: ‘Each year the Department of Infrastructure reviews charges at Ronaldsway. Often, the review leads to no change as an inflationary rate increase would mean only a very small increase, and there are costs associated with software changes if the price is increasing by only a few pence.
‘In 2012, after many years of no increases to the charges, there was a change in the orientation of the car parks to a short stay and long stay, and charges were increased to catch up on several years’ worth of inflationary increases and to reflect the choice of parking.’
Minister for the Department of Infrastructure David Cretney said: ‘Each year when carrying out a review, the department considers the charges and facilities at other commercial airports. At Ronaldsway we have very competitive car parking charges, especially when considering how close to the terminal the car parks are located, with no requirement for bussing or leaving the airport site to get to the car parks.
‘However, in line with most airports it has been considered reasonable to put in a £1 fee for the first hour’s parking.’
Mr Cretney said, in a statement, that he was keen to see no change to the drop-off/pick-up facility in front of the terminal.
He said: ‘We have continued to provide at Ronaldsway the facility to drop-off and pick-up passengers on the terminal forecourt. This is now almost unique compared to most UK airports, as very few offer the facility and those that do charge for the convenience.’