Northstar California Resort’s recent announcement that they plan to charge for parking at the resort was met so much criticism from patrons that the resort has had to respond to those complaints.
The resort announced that it would charge ($10 weekdays, $20 weekends) for parking at the Village View parking lot, claiming that it would help ease congestion. Free parking will still be available at the Castle Peak lot, reports the Sierra Sun.
“Really what it comes back to is what we’ve built this program around — improving congestion on Northstar Drive and the guest experience.” — Tony Karwowski, Northstar director of base operations
One of the major complaints was the timing of the announcement, coming just after season pass holders had had money taken from their bank accounts to pay for their 2019/20 pass.
“It’s a timing issue with that process,” Karwowski said. “There are a lot of different factors in that process that we have to finalize before we can actually go public with it.”
Another concern of skiers and riders is whether the decision will actually ease congestion, or could it just make it worse. The Sierra Sun writes that they received communication from many angry customers arguing that traffic will be made worse by cars dropping off passengers up Northstar Drive, and then driving back down to park for free.
Defiantly though, the resort insists that the decision will reduce congestion on Northstar Drive, and the resort has improved its shuttle service from Castle Peak by adding more buses and drivers:
“The whole design of the system itself is to create less congestion on Northstar Drive,” said Karwowski. “The idea is that the time it takes to pull into Castle Peak, boot up, and hop on a bus, and then ride to the village is equal or less than the time it takes to drive up Northstar Drive, drive through the village, boot up, and walk down to the village to the lift.”
The resort also claims the paid parking lot will reduce traffic on California State Route 267 which quickly backs up, especially during holidays and weekends.
“One of the benefits of this program, that we believe, is that it will actually allow us to take in traffic faster because we are going to be parking in simultaneous lots — both Village View and Castle Peak at the same time,” said Karwowski. “We feel activating both of these parking lots at the same time is going to actually allow us to take inflow faster and reduce backup on 267.”
Many season pass holders were so enraged by this decision that they demanded their pass be refunded, however, all pass sales are final according to Karwowski.
“That is part of our season pass policy,” he added
It appears the resort is standing by their decision to charge for parking, and believe that traffic and congestion in and around the resort will be relieved, improving the guest experience. I guess only time will tell…
“This is going to increase guest experience, and that’s really the aim of the program,” said Karwowski.