Bar code readers replacing attendants with tablets at airport parking lot
Steamboat Springs — Contractors at Yampa Valley Regional Airport will begin next week testing a new paid parking system that should streamline the arrival and exit process for travelers driving their own vehicles to and from the airport in Hayden.
Final installation is scheduled for Sept. 26, Airport Director Kevin Booth said.
The new system will also eliminate the need for the airport to staff parking booths, at a cost of $12.50 an hour, to ensure people don’t get hung up by the current antiquated payment equipment.
“The new system will be more cost effective,” Booth said. “We won’t have payroll and maintenance costs, and the design (with fewer moving parts) is, I think, more suited for our weather conditions here.”
Like most parking lot entry systems, the new system at YVRA will issue permits to people arriving at the lot, but people leaving the lot won’t have to feed the permit into a slot.
“It will be electronically read. You just hold it under a bar code reader,” Booth said.
In early 2015, when Booth began his tenure at the commercial airport, which is owned by Routt County, the old automated parking system had serious glitches, parts replacements were unavailable and 3M Corp., which had acquired the original manufacturer, was shutting that division down.
Since then, parking attendants have accepted payments with an iPad equipped with a card reader.
Parking is the third biggest income generator for the airport, and the typical annual revenue is expected to be more than sufficient to cover the equipment and installation cost of $240,000 for the new ParkingSoft system.
Booth said the maximum daily parking fee of $9 is not scheduled to change. He said his staff was able to increase the overall capacity by about 20 percent, or 393 spaces, by reconfiguring the lot.
The new payment system will result in changes to the parking lot’s entry and exit portals.
People arriving at YVRA by car will make the familiar left turn off of Routt County Road 51A into the parking area that they’ve been making for years, and all arrivals to the terminal will make that same turn, Booth said. Travelers headed for the parking lot will notice the new entrance and automated system accommodates two lanes of traffic.
The exit to the parking lot has been moved to the west side of the lot. It too will be able to accommodate two lanes of cars.
Also new this year is that airport and airline employees will use the same parking lot entrances and exits as travelers, though employees will be directed to park in the westernmost spaces, furthest from the terminal. Booth said that when passenger traffic at the airport increases sufficiently, it will kick in the planning process for a new employee lot on airport property.
In the meantime, airport employees will be automatically admitted to the parking lot, thanks to the license plate recognition capability of the new ParkingSoft equipment.
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