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Paid parking for staff and $17 'tax' on bus passengers

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Do American resort staff pay to drive into the resort for work and park their car?

 

Do American bus tourists pay $17 in tax per seat to enter a resort, that has a highway through it, simply because the bus parks somewhere for the day so the passengers can throw snowballs or ski? A full bus is worth $1000 to the resort 'county-style' management board.

 

Below is a letter circulating from the Mt Hotham facebook group against parking. What are your thoughts, and keep in mind that these 'overlords' talk to your overlords.

 

PS Iirc, last winter the Unpaid Volunteer patrollers were charged $500 to park for the season, and visitations fell 40%.

 

 

Mount Hotham Resort Management Board
PO Box 188
Bright VIC 3741
mhar@mthotham.com.au
Att: Jim Atteridge
Deborah Spring
Ron Mason
Nicole Feeney
Tim Piper
Helen Moran
Peter Hagenauer
Debra Goodin

Dear Members of the Board,
Re: Increased costs to Hotham staff car parking permits for 2014
Thank you for being proactive and making a statement in response to the concerns presented by many mountain staff on Facebook. Your response was posted to the group page on 25 April 2014.
In relation to that statement, please take note of, and respond to the following concerns and proposals:
Concern: your quote “We do recognise the value staff add to the visitor experience, …”
This is a gross undervaluation of mountain staff. In truth STAFF ARE ESSENTIAL, not just for the visitor experience but for the function of the resort. We all work (paid or voluntary) for businesses that are INTEGRAL to the operation of Hotham Alpine Resort as a destination and a community.
Concern: limited staff housing /accommodation options
Staff are essential and accommodation ‘on mountain’ is limited so many staff must live off mountain, either in Dinner Plain, Harrietville, Omeo or even further (it is crucial that these staff are available, often at short notice, for busy times). The positive side of staff living off mountain is that more ‘on mountain’ beds are available for visitors – which in turn generates more business and income for all.
Concern: staff resort entry permits
The staff need to be able to park their vehicles, a point you do acknowledge and have provided the option of purchasing a staff car pass. You make two car passes available – the only difference being where the pass applicant sleeps while working at Hotham – either within the resort or out of the boundaries of the resort.
“Staff Resort Entry Permits for season 2014 are $150.00 for on mountain resident
staff and $250.00 for staff working at Mount Hotham but living out of the resort.”
Can you please explain to me why you discriminate against staff residing outside the resort?
“We encourage staff that do work at Mount Hotham whom reside on either
side of the resort to utilise other services, i.e. the Alps Link which travels from Omeo to
Bright and vice versa as well as the Dinner Plain bus in which staff season bus
permits can be purchased.”
The Alps Link service is NOT an adequate form of commuting to work. This service is wonderful for off duty staff to access the areas off mountain for supplies or services, but the timetable is not appropriate to get staff to work on mountain with its limited timetable clearly designed for other purposes.
Concern: staff residing further afield than Dinner Plain have no adequate alternative to driving.
In the case of staff residing at Dinner Plain, the timetable of the Dinner Plain bus was inadequate and unreliable in the 2013 season. I understand that some of these issues may have been addressed by The Alpine Shire Council through the 2014 service tender process with some funding again provided by MHSC for their staff to get to the resort for work. Issues such as poor timetables and cancellations mean that they are required to use their own vehicle, even offering lifts to stranded visitors at Dinner Plain bus stops.
Concern: staff season bus permit
You refer to a staff season bus permit for the Dinner Plain bus – this is the first time I have heard of such a permit, so if this is a new initiative, then it has not been communicated to return staff by their management. Last year staff were able to obtain passes with a number of trips available – not a season pass. Could you please confirm how this is available and ensure we all get this information?
Concern/Proposal: car parks and staff vehicles
If MHRMB is serious about reducing the amount of staff cars in car parks on mountain – why not offer free and regular bus transport to and from Dinner Plain for staff? Maybe a long term (season) car park for staff in the Dinner Plain area?
We are in agreeance of your statement: “… that Mt Hotham has limited car parking spaces, and we would like to offer the parking spaces that we do have to our visitors as our number one priority.”

However, I think there is a double standard between your statement and what is observed by visitors and staff in Corral Car Park. MHRMB staff vehicles – passenger and utility vehicles in premium spaces. Surely MHRMB staff and management could comply with their own parking policy. Even the Ski Patrol Ambulance is not in practical parking space with drive in – drive out access. One would think that safety would come first. Perhaps some more thought can be given to better use of underutilised reserved parking spaces throughout the resort. These are often observed as empty by guests who raise awkward questions.
It appears that the Whitey’s car park is being extended, which is great to see. However, the Whiskey Flat overflow car park is currently completely covered in stockpiled aggregate. Will this car park be back in action by the start of the season 2014 as the overnight staff car park?
Perhaps the shuttle bus could be extended to include Loch Car Park? There are many parking spots available here that has no link to the village apart from on skis for guests.
Visitors and staff last season observed a reduction in available parking at Wire Plain with allocation of areas of the car park for snow play activities. Will this continue in the 2014 season?
As you can see from the points above there are a number of alternatives to increase the car parking available to visitors without penalising staff financially. The ongoing erosion of working and living conditions for mountain staff is leading to a shortage in skilled, knowledgeable, experienced staff. Andrew Dean, a former MHSC staff member puts it like this:
“Most seasonal mountain staff lose money working in Australian resorts. Numerous studies have been done on staff retention in the Snowsports industry with consistent recommendations; affordable housing, competitive wage arrangements, creation of positive inclusive communities and professional and accountable resort management. Behaviour like that of the RMB and its affiliates, directly correlates to why staff turnover and the resultant skills shortages and product erosion are rampant in the Australian ski industry.”

Proposal: reduce proportion of increase in staff carpark permit
In light of the disharmony and angst of many, many staff and the number of alternatives for increased visitor parking spaces I urge you to review the exorbitantly increased cost of the Staff Resort Entry Permits.
I propose that the increase is restricted to a maximum of 3% on last year’s cost from $95 in 2013 to a reasonable $97.85 in 2014 – this is on top of the massive increase staff already paid in 2013 from $65 in 2012.
3% annually would bring this increase in line with CPI and The Alpine EBA, under which many of us work.
Discrimination against those who reside ‘off mountain’ should cease totally and consideration of the non-resident permit being abolished should be addressed.

All staff should pay the same permit cost no matter where they reside as all staff are an essential part of Hotham Alpine Resort – particularly in view of the inadequate alternatives despite MHRMB claim to otherwise.
I look forward to your response to the concerns, questions and proposals.
Sincerely

post #2 of 13
That thing is too long to read.. And the word wrapping on mobile is a mess.

Short answer to question. Whitefish has free parking except for 2 lots. Staff must park in a particular lot, but there is no way they are policing that. There is also free shuttle service from town that they could use, and they are encouraged to do so especially during Christmas week. I think there is even a distant parking lot for that week that they bus the employees from, but like I said, no one is policing the guest lots.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

good news: the resort 'backed down" and only wants $100 for the season, (but bus passengers will be taxed $17 as an entry fee per passenger).

post #4 of 13
Even at Perisher, parking is free, although there is a national park entry fee.
post #5 of 13

Lake Louise has paid parking on weekends for the well-to-do late arrivals from Calgary who are willing to pay for the convenience of parking close to the lodge.

 

Sun Peaks has paid underground parking at some of the hotels, but if they ever roped off an area close to the day lodge and asked Kamloops weekend locals to pay for parking, they would get an empty roped off area with cars parked all around it.

 

Kamloops people are so good at sitting on their wallets that while golf courses in Vernon and Kelowna have raised green fees over the years, Kamloops golf courses have not raised fees because they know to do so would cause most Kamloops golfers to stop playing golf. The result is that Kamloops has become a golf destination for out of town golfers because it is a less expensive golf vacation than going to Kelowna or elsewhere.

 

Asking staff to pay for parking is totally ridiculous unless they are being paid top wages which is unlikely. What is next, asking staff to pay for skiing? That won't happen but I think it is only a matter of time before the Canadian federal government starts taxing free staff ski passes as a taxable benefit. Probably the only thing keeping the government from taxing staff passes as income at this time is the realization that ski resorts in Canada already have a difficult time in attracting employees when most make minimum wage.

 

There are a ton of Aussies working at ski areas in Canada. I always thought that this was because Aussies under the age of 32 can come to Canada for 2 years on a visa that allows them to work or travel as much or as little as they want. Perhaps having to pay for staff parking in Australia is another driving force in getting young Aussies to Canada. Who knew?

post #6 of 13

Parking is just one of many resources at a ski resort that can  be monetized by the management if they so desire.  $18 hamburgers, $150/hr lessons (where the instructor gets paid $20 and you are expected to tip), and $10 bag checks  are some other examples.

 

It's a business, and like most other entertainment venues the objective is not so much to get people to buy tickets as it is to get a bunch of people into a controlled area where you can sell them shit at an inflated price.  Hence the $8 bag of popcorn at the movies.

 

Now, some resorts are more aggressive than others about this (I'm talking to you, Vail resorts), but if that's their business model and it works who am I to tell them to stop?   I can, however, ski somewhere else or pack a sandwich.

 

Seems to me that if they are asking their volunteers to pay $500 to park they won't get very many volunteers. Not sure what the other alternatives are in Oz.

 

Bottom line is that some ski resorts can pull this shit and get away with it while others can't.  My hunch is that they are misreading their customer base, but honestly I have no idea.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

Parking is just one of many resources at a ski resort that can  be monetized by the management if they so desire.  $18 hamburgers, $150/hr lessons (where the instructor gets paid $20 and you are expected to tip), and $10 bag checks  are some other examples.

It's a business, and like most other entertainment venues the objective is not so much to get people to buy tickets as it is to get a bunch of people into a controlled area where you can sell them shit at an inflated price.  Hence the $8 bag of popcorn at the movies.

Now, some resorts are more aggressive than others about this (I'm talking to you, Vail resorts), but if that's their business model and it works who am I to tell them to stop?   I can, however, ski somewhere else or pack a sandwich.

Seems to me that if they are asking their volunteers to pay $500 to park they won't get very many volunteers. Not sure what the other alternatives are in Oz.

Bottom line is that some ski resorts can pull this shit and get away with it while others can't.  My hunch is that they are misreading their customer base, but honestly I have no idea.

As far as the other resorts in VIC, Hotham is definitely the best skiing out of them to my way of thinking, and the NSW resorts are a reasonable distance away. Hotham is generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best in Australia.


Edit: AFAIK, Hotham is the only one doing this so far.
post #8 of 13

Most people that work on a major college campus have to pay a significant amount for parking.  Some people working in major downtown metropolitan areas pay quite a bit for parking and/or public transportation to their work venues.  The most I pay to park at any ski resort on my state or any other I've visited in the past decade was......

 

 

ONE WHOLE DOLLAR!

 

Ya, I'd be pissed to have to pay a lot to park at a resort working or not.  Even when you park at a satellite lot and have to take a shuttle bus here the parking and the bus ride are usually FREE!

 

I wonder what people working at Disney World have to pay for parking?

post #9 of 13

I think in general, whatever you decide you need to find both an efficient and impactful way to voice your concerns.


If you've heard of the term slack-tivism, it basically is along that premise.   Doing something "easy", like clicking a like button or copying and pasting an email, does not take much effort, and accordingly does not really have that much impact.  But it makes people feel better.

 

Even if the resort puts up a suggestion box, it's very easy for your "suggestions" to just go straight into the trash. Especially electronic mail.  Then it's just like "The Matrix" where this suggestionbox is just a  farce and method of control so the masses just "feel" like they're being heard-especially all your supporters who you told to click like.  

They clicked your button, they feel they've done their part, and they wash their hands of it.

 

You have to do something that has some meaningful cost if you want to have some meaningful impact, but be sure that you are going about it the right way and you indeed optimize the cost that you put in.

If you have your supporters just re-type out the email, that has quite a bit of cost, but gains you no additional impact versus having a website that sends it out with a 1 button click.  If you have them call and leave a voicemail that's more effort and more impact.

 

 

Anyway that's my input, I am not a lobbyist so I don't have a good strategy for you; but perhaps in my cynical mind, I don't see this going anywhere unless you better utilize the resources you are spending.  Money speaks, perhaps raise funds and hire a lobbyist/dealmaker to get a strategy for you.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

good news: the resort 'backed down" and only wants $100 for the season, (but bus passengers will be taxed $17 as an entry fee per passenger).

Someone has to say it.  If you want to have any impact on anyone, start with at least people being able to read or figure out what you're talking about. I suspect the whole thing could've been boiled down to one simple  paragraph. Instead, we have a whole page that's too difficult to read, filled with detail we don't know anything about which makes us care even less.

 

Then there's the above ^. You throw in the word "tax" coupled with "entry fee". I don't know what you're talking about. You mean people have to pay $17 to ride the bus to the resort even though they work there? If so, why not just say that? Being confusing doesn't help your cause.

post #11 of 13

TLDR.  I think you could do a whole thread alone on the socialist government run ski areas down there that operate at a loss year over year.  AU is a weird place.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post
 

 

Then there's the above ^. You throw in the word "tax" coupled with "entry fee". I don't know what you're talking about. You mean people have to pay $17 to ride the bus to the resort even though they work there? If so, why not just say that? Being confusing doesn't help your cause.

 

I should've clipped the long letter prepared by the group's leader, a US Instructor. Sorry:(

 

Yes, the resort land management (not the lifts or lift company hotels) is run by a small 'county' of unelected officials who charge a fee aka tax per passenger on top of the bus fare - the passengers are either the public and/or staff. No one escapes.

post #13 of 13

I think ski resorts will charge whatever the market can handle.  When skiers vote with their wallets, that has an impact.  Otherwise, it's a business.  If it was the best skiing around and worth the money, I'm sure I would ante up.  I wouldn't work for them though.  If you end up losing money in the long run, it's better to get an off mountain job and pay for the ski pass... assuming the off mountain jobs pay more.

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