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 Post subject: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1709
STEAMTOWN NHS BECOMES FEE-FREE YEAR ROUND!

Release Date: October 4, 2017
Contact: Dawn Mach, dawn_mach@nps.gov, 570-340-5339

SCRANTON, Pa. – Effective October 1, Steamtown National Historic Site will no longer charge a park entrance fee. Since 2005, the National Park Service (NPS) charged a $7.00 admission fee for visitors age 16 years and older to the park.

After conducting a detailed analysis of costs associated with collecting and managing park entrance fee revenue, it was determined by NPS regional fee program coordinators and park management that the park could increase visitation and reduce costs by not collecting admission to the site on a daily basis.

Park Superintendent Debbie Conway stated, “This was really an easy decision to make. The goal in dropping our park entrance fee is to encourage more people to come and visit this great historic site.” The park will continue to offer seasonal train rides for a fee. The fee for short train rides remain the same at $5.00 for all, ages 6 and older. Excursions to locations outside the park boundaries will also continue to have a fee. “We will continue to charge fees for train services and for special events and programs in order to recover our operating costs. If folks just want to come and enjoy an afternoon picnic at the park and stroll through the museums, they can free of charge.”

Park management and staff are in the process of developing special programs in conjunction with other area museums. Those new programs may charge a fee, depending on what the presentation entails. “For example, the park will charge a fee for its annual Railfest event but what the fee is and what it includes is yet to be determined,” says Superintendent Conway.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 358
I just saw this. Good news for all, and it may help get a few volunteers in the door.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:29 pm
Posts: 29
Are they going to let the people go that collect and manage the fees? To reduce their operating costs?


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 358
fixologist61 wrote:
Are they going to let the people go that collect and manage the fees? To reduce their operating costs?


The park uses Rangers for the ticket booth, I assume they will be redistributed to better serve the park. There is still a need for someone to manage ticket sales for the excursions and the Scranton Limited, so I would be surprised if they eliminate anyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:29 pm
Posts: 29
So no direct savings, just less income. Exactly how does this reduce cost? Must be government bean counter math.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 358
fixologist61 wrote:
So no direct savings, just less income. Exactly how does this reduce cost? Must be government bean counter math.


I believe at least part of their funding is determined by attendance. No entrance fee means more people through the gates which means more money in the budget next year. The park must feel that it would be enough to offset the loss at the booth.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
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"So no direct savings, just less income. Exactly how does this reduce cost? Must be government bean counter math."


The idea of reducing "entry" fees (used in the broader sense to mean reduced initial costs, rather than physical admission) was used by razor manufacturers (it's taught in B-schools as the "Gillette Theory"-or it was until Harry's came about) and cell phone companies-as well as the Free and Open Source Software industry- and they are private enterprises-so no.

The potential benefit here is increased ridership and bookstore sales, as well less staffing in the ticket booth. There's no guarantees-but I have wondered for a long time if the entry fee is worth generating the resentment it does in a small portion of our visitors-keeping in mind that a satisfied visitor tells a friend; a dissatisfied one tells 10 to 100 friends.

-Government Bean Counter


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:29 pm
Posts: 29
Thanks Super. I guess i really need to look at the big picture. I really get pissy paying to go into a state, county or town park that runs on tax base. So i get it.
Get the customer in the door and get twice the profit with tchotchkes. They leave happy and smiling.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 220
My recollection as to revenue streams is that the Park can only keep 80% of the entry fee. For STEA, this is $5.60 on a $7.00 fee. But, if the visitor pockets this $7.00 and uses it towards an excursion ticket (yard shuttle is $5.00 and the longer trips are more), then 100% goes to STEA. Likewise, if the new Friends of group puts a nice donation box or kiosk at the entrance and the visitor donates the $7.00, then 100% goes to STEA programs through the Friends of group. The bookstore is operated by Eastern National, a 501 (c) (3) that works in support of the NPS. I do not know what % of each sale goes directly to the hosting NPS site.

Hey Supe - can you please confirm or correct? Also, without the ticket sales, what method does the Park Service use for visitor count?

As Supe pointed out, this will also allow for the redeployment of staff that had previously been dedicated to entry ticket sales. Staff will still be needed to sell ride tickets, although with the implementation of technology, either the Park Service or the Friends of group could reduce the resources required for that as well.

There are other Park Service sites that have comparable or even slightly higher fees. The initial cost a visitor is willing to pay is tied to the perceived value of the experience provided and is somewhat reduced in the case of a government-run facility such as STEA by the sense of entitlement/ownership that most tax payers feel about "their" parks.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 868
Disney charges close to $100 a head, and they have no trouble....$7 isn't keeping people away.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
I wonder if there's a reason Disney didn't choose Scranton for a theme park location. Hmm..........

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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1709
"Disney charges close to $100 a head, and they have no trouble....$7 isn't keeping people away."


National Historic Sites are not cinema-coupled theme park. Apples and Starfruit.


I have to confess that I do not remember the method for ESTIMATING visitorship. I think it was explained to me a few years back, but I simply forgot-it's more than admission tickets because there's a passport thing. I won't be up again for a couple of weeks-but I'll see if I can remember to inquire when I'm back up.


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:18 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 868
my point simply was that $7 is dirt cheap for admission and wouldn't be a reason to keep people away...


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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:10 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
Yeah you would think so, but people can be insanely cheap sometimes. They will buy their $8.00 pack of cigarettes, a six pack of beer or a handful of lottery tickets without batting an eye but will moan and complain how a $7.00 admissions fee to a museum is highway robbery. I've seen it.

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 Post subject: Re: Steamtown goes "FOSS".
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:19 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3668
Location: Maine
People have money for what they want.

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