Some private parking companies say the Nashville Airport is trying to put them out of business by unfairly raising their rates.
Nashville has four companies that provide off-site parking with shuttle service to the airport. For years, those companies have been paying a fee of $1.75 every time they drive a shuttle bus through the airport. That fee is going up to $6.50 March 1.
"We want to pay our fair share. I have no objection to paying our fair share," said J. R. Fraley, who owns Fly Away Parking.
Fraley said his costs will increase from $5,000 per month in fees to $21,000.
Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard said the off-site parking operators have been paying too little for years.
"The industry average for airports across the country, including Memphis in Tennessee, equates to 10 percent of gross revenue. At Nashville International, off-airport parking have paid 2 percent or less than 2 percent for several years," Richard said.
Customers will pay a dollar or two more, Fraley said, to partly cover the cost.
Christine Sanders uses Fly Away instead of parking in the airport lots because she likes the door-to-door valet service. She relies on the service to help her with the baggage involved in traveling alone with an infant.
"I don't have to juggle all the items, the suitcases, the car seat, the diaper bag," Sanders said.
Brittany Muirhead said she has used Fly Away for years. She flew in from Toronto to find her car already warmed up and waiting for her when she got off the shuttle.
"What else could you ask for? It's customer service," Muirhead said.
The airport management said the increased fees will go towards maintenance and upkeep at the airport.
That's a sore spot with parking operators, who point out that the fees are going down for hotel shuttle busses from $1.25 to 25 cents.
"Twenty-five cents for one group and $6.50 for another group isn't exactly spreading it evenly," Fraley said.
Richard said that's because the hotel shuttles are a different class of operators.
"It's comparing apples to oranges," she said.
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