By Joel Hall
With 89 million passengers annually flying in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, it is getting harder and harder to find a parking space.
The recent addition of the Silver Reserve Parking Lot will provide frequent users of the airport, a quick, guaranteed access to the South Terminal for the price of $15 per day.
The Silver Lot, which opened late last month, provides an additional 1,300 parking spaces, bringing the total number of slots at the airport to 31,000. Airport officials say the new lot answers the call for more-efficient parking options.
The lot, however, is not open to just anyone. It is reserved for "members," and there are some up-front costs associated with membership. Pending the approval of a membership application, would-be members are required to pay a $405 membership fee, which includes: a $200 advance payment, which must be maintained; a $25 transponder fee; and a $180 annual minimum usage fee (AMUF).
"It was born out of a necessity to meet a tremendous demand for customers who want to have easy access in and out," said Katie Stanciel, aviation parking manager. She said on certain peak travel days at the airport, particularly Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the airport's hourly and daily parking decks have had to close, due to the sheer volume of customers.
"The Silver Lot construction started back in 2007," said Stanciel. "We actually did an official opening in July 2007. It was opened as an overflow lot, but we transitioned over on Aug. 18, 2008."
The Silver Lot program is modeled after the airport's popular Gold Lot program, which, for $24 a day, provides members with covered parking just steps away from the airport's North and South terminals. Customers can now also park in the Silver Lot -- a few minutes from the airport's South Terminal.
While the Silver Lot does not provide covered parking, several technological advancements have been made, according to Stanciel.
A Parking Revenue Control System allows customers to pay for their parking before leaving the airport at express-pay stations and then exit from an automated prepaid lane.
In addition, the new deck utilizes Automated Vehicle Identification (AVI) technology, which allows Silver Lot members to order a transponder, which automatically deducts parking fees from an advance payment account.
"We're trying to target customers with busy schedules who want access to a guaranteed space," said Stanciel. "We're doing this because we want to make sure that we are providing services to customers who are serious about parking."
For more information about the Silver Reserve Parking Lot, go to www.atlanta-airport.com, or call (404) 530-7300.