Airport parking tries patience

The public is being asked for patience during the initiation of the new parking pay system at Owen Roberts International Airport.

Owen Roberts International Air-port

Ground Transport Attendant Daisy Byrd, centre, helps customers with the pay machine

In the two weeks the pay machines have been operational there have been what could possibly be technical problems, as the machines have rejected some Cayman Islands bills. This could also be because of people inserting crumpled bills into the machines, according to the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.

Other problems experienced by customers have resulted from not reading the straightforward signage instructing correct use of the new system.

‘As I imagine there would be with any new technical installation, there are some glitches,’ said Sr. Manager of Airport Operations with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority Kerith McCoy.

‘There are some minor adjustment and familiarity matters being experienced by the public, airport staff and management and all efforts are being made to alleviate these,’ said Mr. McCoy.

Installation is ongoing at the short term parking lot, which is scheduled to be completed by April, so parking for both long and short term is in the long term lot.

The CIAA assures the public that once the installation is complete, the whole redesign of the parking lots and use of the new system will prove to be an effortless process and very user friendly for the public.

The automatic pay system comes from Federal APD, a world leader in revenue parking systems, based in the U.S.

The contractor and manufacturer of the machines are working on the problem with rejected notes, which originally appeared to stem from a currency issue. Mr. McCoy explained that Cayman Islands’ currency notes now come in two types: one with a single security strip and one with a double security strip.

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority has provided the manufacturer with a large amount of C.I. currency in all different denominations in order to ascertain whether the security strip is in fact the problem.

He said that when the CIAA originally sent notes away to the manufacturer in order to format the machines over a year ago, he believes that the note with two security strips had not been in existence.

However, the machine does appear to be taking notes with both one and two security strips.

The manufacturers are looking into all possibilities, in any case. It is also possible that some notes are being rejected because people are not smoothing them out before inserting them into the machines. The machine, like any vending machine, will not accept torn or ruffled notes.

An attendant is on hand at the pay machine to assist those people whose notes are rejected. He or she will take the payment and provide change for the time being.

‘This is something we will do for a few weeks; have an attendant at the pay machine to help people,’ said Mr. McCoy.

The new upgraded parking system will ultimately remove the human factor of fee collection and will afford parking lot users the convenience of doing all transactions automatically.

The CIAA is also urging people to pay attention to signage provided at the airport to enable them to use the system better. There has been some confusion for people who have not read the signage provided.

As one approaches the bend before the turn leading to the entrance to the short and long-term car parks, there is a sign directing all traffic using parking to the long term car park. This is because work is still ongoing at the short term parking lot.

On entry to the long-term parking lot the user pushes a button for a ticket from a ticket machine.

Signs at this machine tell you that before you leave the airport again you need to visit the pay machines located by the passenger greeting area to pay.

Once paid for at the pay machine you have 20 minutes to return to your car. Back at the exit in the parking lot insert your ticket in to the ticket machine and the barricade will lift, enabling you to exit.

Instruction signs have been placed all around the airport, and these are set to be improved and made more colourful in the coming weeks.

CIAA management has also redesigned the parking lots and the traffic flow in order to better accommodate the growth in airport parking usage since the opening of the present terminal in 1985.

Other additions include a bright pedestrian crossing from the long term parking lot to the terminal building. ‘We feel this will enhance the safety of the customer,’ said Mr. McCoy.

In addition, the wheel lock penalty for illegal parking at the airport has been increased to $75 in order to clamp down on parking violators.

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