I dropped a coworker off at JFK today. He was running late for his flight, so he had to reschedule for a later flight. He decided that since he had some extra time that he would park his car in the airport long term parking lot, and I would take the train home.
This is not a problem, because I remember when I worked at the airport several years ago that you could enter the subway from the long term parking lot. To my shock and disgust when I attempted to enter the subway system from the long term parking lot I was told that I had to pay the $5 fee for the Airtrain. I explained to the idiot reps that I never stepped foot onto the Airtrain and refuse to pay for a service that I did not use. They told me that is the way the system was designed, and that there is nothing that they could do about it, I would have to pay the fee to enter into the subway station - where I would also have to pay the $2.25 to get onto the subway.
This is unacceptable. I then found the telephone number for the Airtrain - which is 877-JFK-Airtrain (877-535-2478) in case anyone decides that they would like to call them up and complain about this or any other issue! The people who answered the phone were of even less help than the people at the gate if you could imagine that, you would think that someone would take the initiative to get a manager or supervisor to look at the situation, realize that they are complete idiots for designing a system that does not allow unrestricted access to the public transit system and let me through with out resorting to these extortion tactics.
After that I found one of those information telephones, which apparently directs calls to the same telephone number that I mentioned above, as the second person I spoke with on the phone was about as useful as a box of rocks.
The only alternative to not paying this extortion fee is to take a 20 minute walk out of the parking lot, across a bridge over the belt parkway - that does NOT have a pedestrian walkway, and to the Aqueduct Racetrack subway station on Conduit Boulevard.
The lack of foresight or planning on this Airtrain project is sickening. Not only should the Port Authority be fined for extorting customers who do NOT use the Airtrain into paying for it anyway just to enter into the subway system, they should also be held liable for safety violations for requiring those who choose not to cave into their extortion practices to walk on roadways that are not designed for, and unsafe for pedestrians.
The long term Airtrain/subway station should be redesigned to allow for customers who do NOT ride the Airtrain to have access to the subway system with out having to pay this extortion fee.