Parking revenues at Bob Hope Airport continue to slide.

Parking revenues at Bob Hope Airport continue to slide. (Times Community News / September 4, 2012)

Passenger numbers and key revenues continue to slide at Bob Hope Airport in July, with income generated by parking fees plummeting more than 10% compared to a year ago, according to the latest figures released on Tuesday.

Airport officials reported a nearly 10.7% decline in parking revenues in July to $1.4 million, down from the $1.5 million generated during the same period last year. The decrease follows an almost 7.3% drop in June and an 8.7% slide in May.

Much of the decline has been in the short-term parking structure, which alone saw a $40,000 drop in July.

Dan Feger, the airport’s executive director, said officials noticed the “dramatic decline” in revenues when American Airlines pulled out in February. The trend was “exacerbated” by the closure of parking Lot D to make room for construction of a new transportation center, he added.

Not helping matters has been a decline in the number of passengers using the airfield. There were 347,501 passengers who traveled through the airport in July, a 6.5% drop from the 371,837 seen in July 2011, according to the report released to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

Since January, the airfield has served almost 2.35 million passengers, a 4.8% drop compared to the same period last year.

In an effort to spark a turnaround, airport officials on Tuesday outlined a new pricing structure for valet parking that they said may generate more revenues by the end of the year.

In an effort to drive up short-term parking, authority members approved changing the fee to $3 for the first half-hour of valet parking to match the initial short-term parking rate.

Airport officials said there is currently no signage outside the short-term parking structure notifying drivers of the first 30-minute rate because it didn’t match the valet rate. The overhead sign merely states it costs $31 a day to park in the structure.

With both initial rates at $3, large overhead signs can be installed letting drivers know about the first 30-minute option. Airport officials hope more drivers will use the short-term parking so they can accompany passengers inside the terminal — an option that could be useful if the passenger is frail, has a lot of luggage or unaccustomed to the inside of the terminal.

“We’re not sure that this will solve the problem, but we think it’s a low-cost way to tackle the problem,” Feger said.

Authority members also approved another valet parking rate change. To valet park between 30 and 45 minutes, drivers will pay $7. For 45 to 60 minutes, they will continue to pay $13.

But the fee changes still may not address the biggest parking challenge the airport faces — more and more drivers dropping passengers off at the curb.

“In today’s economy, people are looking for ways to save money,” Feger said.

Some of the drivers who used Lot D may now also be parking at a nearby hotel or at VSP Parking, he added. The website for the parking facility, which is located across the street from the airport, invites drivers to try its service now that Lot D is gone.

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