Alton Towers’ recent decision to increase the car parking charge per vehicle to £5.00 per day has caused many theme park go-ers and local residents to criticize the move.

The Sentinal newspaper has published an article in which it claims that members of other unofficial theme park websites are strongly against the move. It also mentions that there are presently no car parking charges at other UK Merlin theme park attractions including both Thorpe Park and Legoland Windsor.

A spokesperson for the parish council in Alton has also voiced concern over the move after they were originally told that any money raised from the car parking charges would be earmarked for transport improvements – namely the relief road. Such a road has since been dropped.

The costs to park at Alton Towers have risen steadily since they were introduced in the early part of the decade. It is clear that day visitors dislike paying the charges, particularly in light of other extra charges such as the online booking fees. In addition, the £5.00 charge (nor indeed the £2.50 booking fee) is not made particularly clear when browsing the pricing pages on the Alton Towers website. It is important to note, however, that parking remains free of charge for hotel guests and Merlin/Alton Towers Annual Pass Holders.

In June 2008, Towers Times reported that the Park blamed the government for escalating prices. However, in spite of a recent VAT reduction, the park have not kept their tickets two percentage points lower. It is unclear whether any national VAT decrease has had any impact on 2009 tariffs at Alton Towers. Food, beverage and merchandise prices at Alton Towers have also seen no reduction(s) whatsoever in light of the changes.

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