Come September, complaints about airport carpark entry issues and queues of cars reaching out to the main road will hopefully be a thing of the past, thanks to the installation of a second ticketing machine and automatic barrier at the entrance to the main airport carpark.
“We’ve built this second entry because what happens is if a car at the front is holding things up, the queue goes right out to the road,” said Airport Authority chief executive Joe Ngamata, adding that they actually anticipated the need for a second machine and entry point just four months after installing the first one.
“We ordered the first machine, and then I went to Auckland and saw how many machines they have at the front and I thought, maybe we need another one?” he said.
“Then about four months into it – yes, we need another one at the front. So we ordered it way back then.”
The second machine itself is already in place, however there are still a few things that need to be completed before it will be fully operational, says Ngamata.
“They’re just waiting for what they call a magnetic loop, which goes under the ground and senses that you’re there and lifts the barrier up,” he explained. “When you drive your vehicle onto it, it will pick it up.”
That done, the second entry point was set to be ready to use by the end of this week, but unfortunately a missed bitumen shipment has delayed the tarsealing of the second carpark entrance until late August, with Ngamata saying it should definitely be in operation by September.
As well as a high volume of traffic attempting to enter the airport carpark at certain times, Ngamata says there are also other issues that sometimes contribute to congestion and car queues.
“I’ve sat here and watched people a few times, and if you’re not a regular user of it, you might have trouble with the machine,” he said.
“I’ve seen people pressing the wrong button – this is the intercom. It talks to the office, and if no one’s there the rescue fire office will pick up.
“So really what we need is a sign there to say ‘press this button’.”
In addition to the two machines at the airport’s main carpark entrance, there are also two more across the way at the entrance to the airport’s secondary carpark.
All up, the four machines cost the Airport Authority in the vicinity of $200,000, Ngamata says.
Rain covers are also being installed over the machines to help keep people dry when using them.