New parking system at Yampa Valley Regional Airport ‘isn’t as intuitive as it should be’ | SteamboatToday.com

New parking system at Yampa Valley Regional Airport ‘isn’t as intuitive as it should be’

Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden as it appeared from a fly-by in June.

Yampa Valley Regional Airport Director Kevin Booth confirms his staff continues to work on problems customers are experiencing with the airport's new $240,000 parking payment system.

Specifically, travelers are struggling to understand the instructions necessary to make payments for their parking as they leave the airport in Hayden.

Booth said he understands. Employees at the airport, including airline employees and TSA workers, are also experiencing  "operator errors."

"We've definitely gone through a lot of growing pains (since the system was installed in late December 2016)," Booth said this week. "The vendor sent techs out, and we resolved a lot of issues. It probably isn't as intuitive as it should be. We've added instructions on decals and made changes to some voice instructions."

“We’ve definitely gone through a lot of growing pains. The vendor sent techs out and we resolved a lot of issues. It probably isn’t as intuitive as it should be." – Yampa Valley Regional Airport Director Kevin Booth

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Another problem has been traced to travelers who arrive at the airport to take a flight elsewhere and leave their parking stub on the dashboard. Too often, Booth said, the data on the stub fades in the sun, rendering them unreadable.

Manufacturer ParkSoft has been responsive and continues to re-draft customer instructions to get to a solution, Booth added.

"Right now, knock on wood, we think we're over the hump on these things," Booth said.

Frequent Steamboat business traveler John Reynolds wrote to Steamboat Today this month to say, too often, he has returned from a long airline commute to work and been required to wait for an attendant to come out from the terminal to help him.

"Even when the attendants are there, they often can't get (the machine) to work," he wrote in an e-mail.

Booth said Thursday that whenever a traveler has an issue at the airport, a staffer fills out a "trouble ticket," including the details of the problem. He said the airport has two trouble tickets on file from Reynolds, but Assistant Airport Manager Tinneal Gerber has been unable to reach him and follow up.

If this story sounds familiar to YVRA regulars, it's understandable. Booth inherited parking payment problems when he accepted his current post in early 2015.

When the previous system was new, it was infamous because travelers returning to Steamboat to collect their vehicle would often pay their parking fee only to have the bar refuse to raise to let them out of the parking lot. It wasn't unheard of for travelers driving SUVs to jump the curb to exit the lot.

For a number of years, the airport employed parking lot attendants to manually let people out of the lots. But Booth found it increasingly difficult to fill those positions even at $12.45 an hour, and he was counting on the new system to fix his employment and payroll problem.

Since then, Booth has had no option but to cross-train terminal employees to help travelers navigate the parking payment system. He's gone as far as training the evening janitorial workers to help passengers arriving on 8:30 p.m. flights from Denver.

"We've put a lot of manpower out there as we went through these upgrades to reduce frustration," Booth said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1