By Kitty Alvarado. CREATED Jan 24, 2014
PALM SPRINGS -- There's controversy over a proposal to add a parking fee at the Palm Springs Aerial Tram.
Online and broadcast reports are saying the 5 dollar parking fee is a done deal and starts next month.
KMIR has learned that the plan isn't final yet, and details are still being decided.
This iconic Palm Springs attraction turned 50 last year.
Since the tramway opened visitors have enjoyed free parking, but will soon change
"As with everything the price of running the tramway and maintaining the road has gone up so we have started to initiate a parking fee it has not gone into effect yet," says Lena Smith with the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Ticket sales are the tramway's bread and butter, they pay for the company's 60 employees.
"The tramway has to maintain the entire road to the entire road from the Valley Station all the way down to the gate at Palm Canyon Drive whatever the price will be at the time we start charging for parking will help go toward maintaining the road and the sidewalk," said Smith.
Many of the people we spoke to say they're okay with paying a little bit to park here but there is a misconception about how the ps aerial tramway makes it's money and what it's responsible for.
"Well I don't think the people understand that we are a not for profit so the only funds we do get are from the sales of tickets and from that we pay for all of our expenses," said Smith.
When the tramway will start charging and how much that charge will be is still being debated.
But locals and tourists already have an opinion.
"They already charge enough to get up there and I'm just getting tired of everything going up, up, up and not going the other way," said Cathedral City resident, Ed Wofford.
"If we're having a little hard time with maintaining the roads or parking lots I think everyone should step up and pay the 5 dollars," said Don Parreira.
"I think locals maybe should get a break on that folks that might come up more often, as a tourist it doesn't really matter," said a tourist.
"It can only go to making this place better it is a tourist attraction," said anther tourist, Jillian Carmer.
Tram officials aren't sure when they'll implement this new per-vehicle parking fee, but it could be as late as April.