NEW YORK (AP) — Visitors to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum must now pay a $2 service fee to reserve passes online or by phone.
The fee went into effect last month, although there is no charge for admission to the memorial on the World Trade Center site. There's also no charge for same-day passes distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Family members of some 9/11 victims say the fee violates the memorial's mission.
"They're making money off the people that died. It's disgusting," Jim Riches, a retired FDNY deputy chief who lost his firefighter son, told the New York Post (http://bit.ly/15csLxX ).
Memorial President Joe Daniels issued a statement Sunday saying that, "like other similar institutions, in order to help support the operational needs of the 9/11 Memorial we have implemented a service fee, solely for advance reservations."
The memorial's website says the reservation system is temporary until certain construction projects are finished. Tax-funded grants have paid for about $300 million worth of construction, and more than $400 million came from private donations.
The memorial opened in 2011, attracting about 7 million visitors so far to its two reflecting pools with waterfalls that outline the footprints of the fallen towers.