Uproar Over Entry Fee At Titanic Dry Dock

Anger has erupted over the £50 entry fee to the Thompson Dry Dock in Belfast. The charge is for foot, bus, or taxi. There is also a parking charge. You can avoid the charge by taking a tour bus that prebooks (and thus includes the fee as part of the tour). Many worry it will drive away tourists. The bosses say it is not about making money but safety issues. And that if you take a prebooked bus tour it will not be a problem.

Except if you are on a bus not prebooked. Then you have to get off and line up to pay the entry fee. Those paying gripe about it and of course the cashiers have to deal with long lines of people. So let me get this right. If you prebook through a bus tour than includes the Thompson dock yard, you can go right in. All others, line up and pay.

This is not uncommon. Many attractions and parks here in the United States have entry fees. Bus tours generally include the fees as part of the tour so you do not have to line up to pay. Belfast might want to consider what San Francisco does. There are special passes that allow people to not only travel on city transport but also includes the entry fees for some attractions on Fisherman’s Wharf (and other places). That way people who do not want to take bus tours can purchase those passes (usually good for one or three days). Make them easy to purchase online, at a retail store, or special outlet. Make some family passes as well.

Belfast Telegraph, £50 Titanic Charge: Why It’s Needed, 27 Mar 2010