Friday, July 29, 2016

It's Just Wrong

My first year working at the airport I rode MARTA to work but got old quick. It added four hours to every work day...four hours I didn't get paid for. Once I got my finances in order, bills caught up and was netting a pretty hefty salary began parking at the international terminal and knocked three hours off each work day. It was almost worth the twelve bucks a day for the convenience alone and made my day easier. I could leave my house just fifty minutes before work and get there usually ten minutes early and be home well over a hour earlier. When you're my age and work as hard as I do, that's a small price to pay.

 Plus there were several of the shuttle drivers I really liked a lot and always looked forward to seeing them. When I'd make ridiculously good money on a shift would sometimes tip them five or ten bucks. At Christmas I'd give them a twenty. They always asked about Massey if she wasn't with me. They were genuinely good people. Once Massey started working there we split the parking so really only cost me six bucks anyway.

Then a new parking deck opened on the other side of the interstate and offered an opening rate of $8.25 per day. A couple of my coworkers began parking there and raved about it. Unlike the deck where I parked (find a spot to park walk to the elevator and catch the shuttle) the new one picked you up at your car and took you to the terminal. On returning after work dropped you off right at your car. The very first week they changed their minds and decided to not allow employees to use their lot...passengers only.

After a month of being open and never filling up once, flip flopped and decided to let us park there. I just kept parking where I always had, paying four dollars more per day. Then one of the girls at work told me they once again decided to let employees use the lot. I was one of the last ones to switch but had to admit saving almost twenty bucks a week was worth it. About the third time I parked they told me when entering that if employees wanted to park there, they had to sign up for the rewards program online and get a card to use in the mail. I was okay with that. You park seven days and get one free. You park forty days and get one week free.

Even better!!

So for the past two months we've been parking there. It was awesome. Covered parking and picked you up at your vehicle. After work they took you right back to your car and even gave you a free bottle of water on your way out.

About a month ago we began to hear from the drivers that a few  employees were causing some problems. Most were employees of an airline who has their  own designated free  parking. Some would get on the bus to go to work and complain when the driver kept stopping to pick up others at their car, saying they were running late for work. One woman in particular who I rode with several times just couldn't seem to get it that you had to hand the driver the little card you had been given after being picked up at your car when getting back on the shuttle after work so they would know exactly which parking space you were in and where to let you out. She's sit on the shuttle shouting that they kept skipping her car when in fact they didn't even know where she had parked because she never gave them the card. She sat with it in her hand. We tried several times to explain it to her but she just didn't get it. In other words...she's a nut case.

Two weeks ago when leaving one night they told me beginning July 25 airport employees were not going to be allowed to park there.


On July 26 I tried anyway. I didn't have on my airport badge and drove up, putting my rewards card into the machine. The girl opened the window and immediately said "Hey Miss Kelly."

So much for always chatting with the attendants...they all knew me.

I smiled and said "I'm flying to Paris today, where do you want me to park?" She said she was so sorry but unless I could show her a boarding pass she couldn't let me in the lot.

Number one, you know how many people check in online and go to a kiosk inside the terminal to get their boarding pass printed off?

Number two, she was very nice and said would love to let me in but could lose her job
so I relented.

Number three, okay maybe some employees were causing some problems but I wasn't one of them. Actually since starting to park there, Massey and I both each tipped the driver a buck on the way in and a buck on the way out so were still paying twelve dollars a day to park but with more convenience.

Number four, if employees are causing problems, have them sign a waiver saying will adhere to all the rules and act in a professional manner when using their service. I'd be more than willing to do so.

So now I'm back at ParkRide. That's okay too. Now I have to hunt for a spot to park, hike it to the elevator and go down to the shuttle and do it all in reverse after work but have kind of missed my friends who drove me.

Then I hear at work that  FastPark is allowing airport employees with badges that say "Crew" to still park there for $8.25.

Here's my thing.

So pilots and fight attendants ...who have access to free (albeit a couple of miles away) parking and shuttle buses which take them directly to the gate where they work can park there but people like me who have no designated parking can't?

That's flat out discrimination and it's not right.

I'll give them this...

I never witnessed it until the other week when riding back with them before they cut us off. I was by myself after work. There were about four or five airline (with available free parking of their own in another lot) employees who obviously all worked together riding the shuttle. There were three passengers riding as well. The woman who was driving the shuttle was trying to tell the passengers how it worked when we got back to the lot and to listen for their parking space to be called so they would know when to get off. The airline employees were all showing each other videos on their phones or cackling loud about something at work and one employee even rolled her eyes when the driver asked them to quiet down, for the second time. The passengers couldn't hear what parking space was being called out and those employees seemed to have couldn't cared less.

It was embarrassing to me, especially considering not one of the rude employees tipped a single dollar to the woman who was so graciously dropping them off exactly where their car was parked.

So here's my thinking:

If employees want to park there, have them agree in writing to adhere to the rules of conduct or be bounced from the bus but don't blame the whole basket of apples for a few rotten ones, they all have them.

My money is as green as the traveler's and Crew member's.

But to build a parking lot not located on airport property and refuse to let some airport employees park there but allow some to is wrong no matter how you look at it.

Since I'm transferring to the  Orlando airport to work , called the FastPark in Orlando to ask if employees could park in their lot.

The answer I got (verbatim) was "Anyone can park in our lot".

So the same company has different rules for Atlanta? That doesn't seem right either.

Neither does the fact they flip flopped three times on whether or not we could park there to begin with.

I may be leaving in just over a month's time but this really gets to me, for all the people who will still be working there. We pay the same amount as anyone else and should have the same rights.

I've decided to put my writing skills to work and draft a letter of opposition to their business practice. I'm sending a copy to FastPark, the County Business Authority, the Mayor of Atlanta and local Atlanta TV stations.

As for FastPark, the slow season is about to start and trust me, they will see a huge drop in business. They won't need over half the shuttles they use now which means some of their own  employees will most probably lose their jobs as well.

Corporate greed at it's finest.

I'm a little bulldog when I get hold of something I want, and I want what's right.

I almost feel like calling an attorney who went to highschool with my husband and letting him file a class action suit.

On a brighter note, all my old ParkRide shuttle bus drivers have told me how much they have missed us and welcomed me back with smiles and hugs.

Reminded me of the old adage...

"You Get What You Pay For"

I wouldn't go back to FastPark now, even if they begged me. The $8.25 per day was just an opening rate and will soon go up to $11.00 anyway.

Come to think of it, I'd pay a buck extra any day of the week to ride with a friend.

Til next time...Cotton the Bulldog

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I Park @ Peachy Park. With their rewards program it is 6.75 a day and they drop you off right at your car.