Two Opposite Parking Experiences

As you just read I did go to the mall over the past few days, not to shop, but to see movies. I experienced two parking systems, on at the Arc Light Cinerama dome in Hollywood (Parked in the LA city owned garage nearby) and at Century City, a major shopping center owned by Westfield adjacent to Beverly Hills.

I had two different experiences.

In the LA city garage I was first accosted by a strange validating machine in the theater. It was “split” apart and the “innards” were sort of spilling out. We formed a committee and decided that it in fact worked and were able to get our tickets validated by trail and error. At the two Pay on Foot Machines (one pictured here) it was again a difficulty. Hand made signs were on the machines giving instructions.

One of the machines was out of order. The other seemed to require you either be 14 years old or have an advanced degree to operate. Nowhere did it say that you could pay on exit with a credit card. I sorted that out and we jumped out of the line and went to the exit, where I found a fully staffed exit booth that took care of the transaction.

Although I might have liked the equipment to have been a tad more intuitive, my real problem is with the management of the parking operation. It’s fairly obvious that they hadn’t called for service in quite some time, and were just limping by. The problem with the validator almost ensured that it took four time as long as it should have to get folks out of the theater and then having only two P and D machines (only one of which worked) for a what, 800 car garage was absurd. But then, it is owned by the city, after all. If I were the theater I would be raising hell with them.

A failure for the City of Los Angeles and Arc Light Theaters.

Ah, but at the Westfield Century City it was a dream. There were a dozen easily discovered validators in the theater all of which worked perfectly. Arrows on the tickets and legends on the machines showed how to use them.

When you got to the POF (there were machines at every entrance to the garage) it was easy. What do you think you should do first at a P and D? Easy : Put in a ticket. The same legend that was on the validator was on the POF. I inserted the ticket and the display, at eye level, clearly said Pay $4 – it showed my total bill ($8) and then showed the validation ($4) and then the total due. It said “insert money or credit card.

There was a flashing light where I was to put either a bill or my credit card. I inserted my AMEX and the screen said “processing Credit card.” It then returned the card and the ticket and I was off. Note that I had to read no instructions or press any buttons. Oh I guess if I wanted a receipt I could press a button. But I Think that was my only choice.

WOW! Congratulations to the Wizards at Zeag, Switzerland.

By the way, Westfield spent a lot of coin to install a parking guidance system in this garage. Even though the place was packed, it was easy and quick to find a space. Arrows point to lanes where spaces exist and red and green lights told you where the empty spaces were. You could see them halfway across the garage and drove directly to them. Congrats to those Aussies at Westfield. That money was well spent and I’m sure attracts a goodly crowd who are afraid to park in other malls where such systems do not exist.

JVH

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