Everything that can go wrong, does – Murphy was an optimist
PT Media has settled into our new digs and getting used to the parking operation. We have cards to let us in and out, visitors pull tickets and pay on exit. We can validate. All should be right with the world. As far as we are concerned, and probably the rest of the tenants, it is. Gates go up and down, you can get in and out – well … except if you are a visitor and it’s a weekend. And therein turns the tale.
When a friend drove me to the office on a Saturday, we pulled a ticket so he could park and I could give him a tour. When we left, the booth was closed. However, I noted that down the way there was another exit, with a full blown 24-hour valet operation. No problem. We will just go out there.
“No, to exit here, you must have a white ticket. You have a green ticket.”
I discovered that there were two independent parking operations running in basically the same garage. One for a building that is adjacent to ours, and one for us. They don’t seem to speak to each other. After some discussion, we were let out but told if it happened again, it would be a $10 charge.
(I found out later that I was supposed to check with the guard in our building lobby and he would deal with the visitor issue. How I was supposed to know that I have no idea. I guess that also explains why there is an attendant sitting at a choke point that stops each car if you are a daily. He checks the color of your ticket and ensures that you exit by the proper lane so the right building gets your money.)
The fact that there are two card readers in each lane, one marked with our address and a second one marked with another began to make sense. I spoke to our building manager about this and was told that back in the mists of time, the revenue control system was installed, but sometime later, a security company had sold the buildings on replacing the existing card system connected to that PARC system with a new one. But to keep them separate, there would have to be two readers in each lane. Hmmmm.
In addition, there is a shuttle that can take you to nearby LAX. Seems the adjacent building runs an off-airport parking operation collocated in the same shared garage. I said great, I have to go to Phoenix. It seems the shuttle supports only people who park (and pull tickets) in the building adjacent to ours (white ticket). So how do I get a “white” ticket?
Simple — I pull up to a “white” ticket dispenser. Push the button. Leave the ticket in the throat of the TD, use my card on my building’s reader, the gate opens. I then pull the ticket out, and I have a white ticket and my card is in the correct pass-back mode. And I’m off to Phoenix. This is what happens when you have two different companies that don’t understand the parking business install systems.
Wait a minute. If I can do that, why can’t a cashier do that? They are running an off-airport parking operation. Why can’t the cashier pull a bunch of tickets just like I did. Then when someone comes in with a $50 airport ticket, they charge them the $50, run a “today” ticket through the cash register, put the $10 for today in the drawer, and keep the $40 difference. Yikes!
Then I find out that the booth on “my” side of the building has a push button to override the cashier terminal. I am simply blown away. It turns out that these two building owners have no control at all over their parking.
It’s rumored that a new parking system is going in. If so, I wonder how much the revenue will increase? Any guesses?