Today’s Editorial March 09: We like human factors

Frustration.

That pretty much sums up the experience of a few who have tried cramming their cash into the automated parking pay system at the Owen Roberts International Airport.

We guess the good news is that the manufacturers of the machines are looking into the problems and plan to have a solution shortly.

While we appreciate the need to improve parking at the airport, we have to question the use of machines.

This is, after all, the Cayman Islands.

We’re known for our laid back, genteel and friendly manner to all folk.

We expect to be greeted by people, not machines.

Even before Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 those who used the short and long-term parking lots received a parking stub, which was presented to a live human being in the little kiosk who took your money, shared a quip or two and gave change.

This was usually all done with a smile.

Automated machines just don’t offer that personal touch.

The Cayman Islands Airport Authority assures us that once all the glitches are worked out, the new parking pay system will be very user friendly for the public.

We hope so.

Of course for the system to work, people need to educate themselves about the machines by observing and paying attention to the signage that has been posted throughout the airport instructing them where to park, where to pay and how to use the system.

It would appear the CIAA has done all it can do to help the public understand the system, but people are loathe to change and many don’t notice the signs.

While there are glitches with the system and people are familiarizing themselves with it, an attendant will be on hand to take money and dish out change.

But once the system is fixed, the parking system will remove the human factor of fee collection and the CIAA tells us the system will afford parking lot users the convenience of doing all transactions automatically.

It reminds us of the self checkout lanes at some of the larger retailers in the United States where a computer talks you through the process, takes your money and doles out change.

God forbid you punch a wrong key or the wrong information gets scanned. Finding a human factor to correct the error can at times be, well, frustrating.

We do commend the CIAA for trying to make our airport parking experience more convenient.

But, this is Cayman. We still like to interface with our fellow human factors.

Or more simply put, if we’re going to give our money away, we’d rather give it to a smiling person.

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