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PT THE AUDITOR


Airports,Watch theMoney… There is a Lot of It


J


VH TELLS ME THAT THIS ISSUE OF Parking Today features airports, so I’ll give you a refresher course in revenue con- trol at airports, on- and off-site.


The problem is the sheer volume of money


involved. It’s not unusual for a vehicle to have a parking charge of $150 or more. A lost ticket can


mean a loss of a substantial amount of revenue.And the tempta- tion to “swap” tickets with that kind of money on the line can be extremely tempting. A few months ago, I left my car at an off-airport lot in


Atlanta. I lost my ticket. The lot has covered parking at a higher price, and you make that decision when you enter the facility. I was gone about 12 hours. When I drove up to the gate, I expected to be grilled and then charged a fortune formy error. I was politely asked when I came


in and if I parked in covered or uncovered. I told the truth and paid exactly what I would have had I not lost my ticket. I signed nothing; the gate opened and I left. In another case, at an LAX off-airport


location, the security staff used golf carts to move around the huge lot. They also used them to pull tickets, which they gave to the cashiers. The cashiers then swapped the one-day ticket for a 10-day ticket and kept the difference, which they split with the guards. At Newark a few years ago, the skycaps were using their


carts to cover the loops and issue tickets to provide the same serv- ice to the New Jersey cashiers. The airport got wise and put in loops, treadles and arming circuitry with differential logic.You had to be a car to issue a valid ticket. It took the skycaps about eight hours to lash two baggage carts together so itwas the length of a car, remove the inner sets of wheels, and then issue valid tick- ets.Where there is will, there is a way.


Most on-airport locations


use license plate inventory. Take the license plate on entry (or at 3 a.m.) and then require that the license plate be input on every ticket, not just lost tickets. This solves the swapped ticket prob- lem. If the entry time on the tick- et doesn’tmatch the time of input of the license plate number, alarms go off and someone has to find out what happened. But some operations don’t


have the millions required to put such a system in place. If you have a smaller operation, how do you handle lost tickets? I know of a couple off-air-


port locations that ask the parker for a copy of their ticket or itiner- ary. They then take the departing flight time, add two hours, and use that time to compute the lost ticket fee.A copy of the itinerary is taken and made a part of the lost ticket form that is signed by the driver, cashier and duty supervisor.Yes, it takes a lot of time and energy, but next time the driver won’t lose their ticket. In every case, the duty manager should be required to


“I knew the airport was low on parking spaces, but this is ridiculous.” 48 APRIL 2010 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com


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