Automation coming to Charlotte Douglas parking lot

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Changes are coming to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport that will hopefully make it easier for you to get in and out.

Our airport seems to be a place that it is constantly expanding, and the latest gadgets here don't involve planes, but rather cars.

Things are about to change for the thousands of passengers and drivers who use airport parking lots.

It's being billed as Smart Park express with the added feature of self service check out.

Pick up your ticket, take a trip, pay up at the machines, and exit at the gates with a validated ticket.

Drivers can also pay the machines with plastic on the way out.

Mae Ebarle is a passenger who embraces the concept.

She said," I think it's a great idea. I don't ever carry cash. I don't have to think about it and I could just stick my card there and go."

This form of automated parking came to the Raleigh Durham Airport several years ago, and the intent is to get passengers on and off the airport property quickly.

Ken Stephens knows about the delays.

"Sometimes it's harder to get out what you need billfold wise or wallet wise so many it's easier since it's out here," he said.

Efficiency is another aspect to this latest high tech journey, and the face lift is underway.

Several booths occupied by real people have been taken to make way for the new equipment, which on the surface may mean fewer staffers to work at airport parking lots.

Brain McHugh is a Passenger who understands this kind of downsizing.

"Unfortunately that happens with automation," he said." I'm in an IT field and that happens. This looks like it could save some money. Hopefully, I've never used it, but we'll see."

So far those machines are in daily lot and long term number four lot.

They should be at all lots by the end spring.

The airport hopes to see 50 percent savings, and officials at Charlotte Douglas are encouraged at this point saying that 25 percent of the customers are using those machines.

No word regarding how many jobs will be lost in the transition.

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