Valentines Day 2009 brought with it yet more financial burdens for regular day visitors to Alton Towers Theme Park as the parking charge rose from £4 to £5 per car, per day in spite of the fact that the charge is said to be “nominal” – which is defined as being “insignificantly small”.

The charge, which has been criticized by many, has not risen for several years. However, such an increase in times of financial difficulties seems, on first glance, both unhelpful and unnecessary.

The parking charge was introduced in the early part of the decade, and is, based on occupancy of 3 per car, adding around £1.50 to each guests day visit – on top of ticket price rises already since Scarefest 2008. This is in stark contrast to the FREE car parking at Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures all of which have far superior public transport connections.

As plans for a relief road stall, and public transport connections to the park continue to be very limited (and relatively costly) compared to many other leading theme parks, the increased charges will be guaranteed to leave Alton Towers’ day visitors with a glum expression come ride close time and the queue for the payment machines.

It remains to be seen how the money will be re-invested into Alton’s transport infrastructure, if at all.

Annual Pass Holders and Hotel Guests continue to park free of charge.