JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A cruise ship to many means fun and fantasy, but to Alex Tosto, each ship that docks at the JAXPORT cruise terminal is a payday.
"$40 every cruise day we save them," said Tosto.
And on days when the cruise ship is sailing, Tosto's Hecksher Drive cruise parking lot turns into a madhouse; it adds up.
For every cruise, they're parking 140 cars and charge far less than what the port authority would charge if the cars were parked at the cruise terminal.
"The money we save, we spend it on the cruise," said one passenger.
The problem for Tosto and his drivers is getting past the security gate to the terminal. He has to pay the port and has been using toke notes, a prepaid way to access the terminal.
"I've been buying toke notes for over the last year and a half," he said.
In July, the port notified companies that toke notes are no longer being sold and will be accepted through July 31 -- after that it is cash, debit or credit.
Unfortunately, Tosto has $6,500 worth of toke notes that he is stuck with unless the port bends its rules.
"It was like 'great, they're trying to put me out of business by taking my money.' That was my reaction," said Tosto.
Out of business means 15 employees out of a job, and the cost of parking goes up for cruise passengers. Tosto said the port needs to be flexible with its new system.
"If they don't give me a credit," said Tosto, "I will take them to court, I will sue them."
Nancy Rubin with JAXPORT said they're making changes to be more efficient; so far, Tosto is the only person who has come forth with a problem with the toke notes.
Rubin said last week, a meeting was scheduled for Monday to address Tosto's concerns so JAXPORT was surprised that Tosto called First Coast News.
Bottom line: The port will give Cruise Parking credits for the outstanding toke notes in the interim, but once those are used up there will be no more. Tosto will have to adapt to the new system.
First Coast News