Ocean City To Charge $50 Flat-Fee For July 4th Inlet Parking - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Ocean City To Charge $50 Flat-Fee For July 4th Inlet Parking

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - On Fourth of July, Ocean City officials say 300,000 visitors will venture out to the beach town to see the fireworks.

But this year expect a big change: a $50 flat fee for parking at the Hugh T. Cropper Inlet Parking Lot.

"We continue to see these repetitive complaints about people who have come and at the end of the fireworks that were having to wait in line," said Ocean City communications manager Jessica Waters.

City officials stress the new change can be a cost savings. The town plans to charge $50 starting at 5 AM only on July 4th and end the one-time fee at midnight. Cars will be able to stay in the lot all day, but if they leave, it will cost them an additional $50 to park at the Inlet.

Visitors who do use the flat-free option will be issued a window pass and directed to park by assisting parking attendants. Waters says the Inlet lot fills up between 10 AM to 12 PM on July 4th and drivers will be encouraged to use neighboring parking lots, including Worcester Street, Somerset Street, Dorchester Street, North Division Street, 4th Street and the West Ocean City Park & Ride. 

Waters says it's a good deal for folks who plan to spend the entire day at the beach, since holidays usually cost visitors $3 per hour and upwards of $60.

"We didn't make this change for a revenue boost," said Waters. "We did this to make it easier on our visitors. We wanted people to come and now feel like they're on the clock."

But some Ocean City visitors who parked at the Inlet lot on Monday admit they wouldn't come back down for the Fourth of July if the fees stay.

"I wouldn't come here for $50. Even if it's just for the fireworks, why jack it up just for that?" asked Paul Tempura of Hurlock, Md. "I think you're probably going to discourage more people."
     
"Fifty dollars is steep for a holiday," said Vincent Wilson, who was born in Cambridge, Md. "You'd want to take that extra $50 and spend it on your family."

Waters admits the flat-fee will be viewed as a trial run to see how residents and vacationers respond.

"There's always learning curves and I'm sure we'll do something differently in the future," said Waters.

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