A new system of parking machines and barriers is being installed at Grand Cayman’s airport after nearly a decade of complaints and customer frustration.
The new machines, which will allow customers to pay by swiping their credit cards as they exit the car park, will be in operation by March, according to airports boss Albert Anderson.
He acknowledged there had been numerous problems with the current system.
“We hear about it mostly when people can’t get out of the car park and have to call for an attendant to assist,” he said.
The automated parking payment system has been a source of complaint since it was first installed in 2006, replacing a manned payment booth.
Initially customers were able to pay with a card at the exit, but that machinery has not worked for some time and replacement parts are not currently available, Mr. Anderson said.
He said a lot of the mechanical parts in the existing machines were no longer working.
Other problems highlighted by travelers have included not being able to get change from the ticket machine and the failure of the machine to read ticket stubs indicating how much is owed. Even when travelers have paid and received a receipt, the machines at the exit gates sometimes fail to read the card and open the gate, resulting in motorists having to call a parking attendant.
Mr. Anderson said U.S. firm Amano had been hired to replace the system last year. He said the new system would be basically the same as the old one, with the crucial difference that it would work properly.
“You pull a ticket and you pay at the machine before you go back to the car. You can also pay by credit card either at the machine or at the barrier.”
Some of the new barriers are installed already, but the payment machines have yet to be put in place. The new machines will not accept U.S. dollars.
The government’s Internal Audit Unit was critical of the airport parking system in an October 2014 review.
“Frequent system breakdowns impact the customer experience negatively and may lead to loss of revenue. Manual intervention by [staff] also increases the risk of errors and irregularities in the revenue collection and reporting process,” it stated.