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Customer focused developments at airport parking
Thursday, September 22, 2005 | 00:00

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) at O.R. Tambo International Airport operates the largest parking facility in South Africa. The airport has over 7500 public parking bays and handles about 12 000 parking transactions per day. To ensure top level safety, the parking areas are equipped with 120 fire hydrants bays and disabled airport users are assisted with 64 specifically identified parking bays. In recent weeks, the ORTIA parking team have introduced a number of new parking initiatives, to further improve the airport parking experience.


ORTIA has recently invested almost R3 million on a state of the art License Plate Recognition (LPR) system.

As a vehicle enters one of the airport parking areas, the LPR system captures an image of the vehicle and driver, automatically recording the registration number of the vehicle on the parking ticket.

When the driver has paid for the parking and inserts the exit ticket at the boom, the system automatically reconciles the registration number on the ticket, with the registration number of the exiting vehicle. The boom will only open if the number on the ticket corresponds with the registration number of the ticket.

The system shuts down a potential exit strategy for car thieves and is also a useful customer service tool. With just a registration number, parking authorities are able to identify the date and time at which the parking area was accessed, as well as the level at which the client entered. This is proving most useful in helping drivers allocate “lost” vehicles when they forget to note their colour-coded parking level.

The LPR system is the only system of its kind currently operating in South Africa.

Electronic parking signage:

Due to the large number of parking bays distributed around the airport precinct, the ORTIA parking team identified the need for a system to assist drivers, indicating open areas for quick and hassle free parking.

To achieve this, ACSA has introduced a “Variable Messaging System,” an electronic and automated system that indicates numbers of open bays to parking users. The system is updated on a constant basis as vehicles enter and exit the parking areas.

Bongiwe Pityi, the Landside Manager at ORTIA, said the system has a strong customer focus.
“What we are hoping to do is assist our parking customers by directing them to available parking to ensure they are able to park and enter the terminals as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

ORTIA is now equipped with 14 large electronic parking sign boards to help direct traffic flow as drivers enter the airport precinct to help drivers choose a parking option as early as possible. 

Simpler parking payment options:

All ORTIA’s parking machines are now equipped with “single slot” technology to help make paying for airport parking with a credit card so much simpler. 

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