Nearly $400K lost to broken Sea-Tac parking machineson December 11, 2012 @ 1:16 pm (Updated: 2:46 pm - 12/11/12 )
A state audit has since discovered at least 10,500 drivers this year have gotten a free ride because of faulty credit card machines at the parking garage. The audit estimates the port has lost about $395,000 in parking charges in the past two years. The number may be higher if you include previous years.
The real question, KIRO Radio's Dave Ross wants to know, is who are these people who reported they weren't charged? He actually wishes he was one of them.
"I wanted to be that guy because it's the free rider problem. It's the free-riders like you who are making my taxes go up," Dave points to co-host Luke Burbank, who imagines the tattle-tellers to be "geeks" who noticed the problems whilst balancing the checkbook.
Airport spokesman Perry Cooper tells Ross and Burbank they've hired a forensic team to try to figure out how to prevent lost transactions and how to reclaim lost funds.
"Shouldn't that company, to save its name, want to refund you the money for that so you don't put up a bunch of critical comments on your website warning other ports?" Dave wonders.
In the meanwhile, there's a team of people trying to figure out where the money is getting lost.
"There's something that has not correctly done its job," Cooper says. "It costs our staff time."
He says before they go after the manufacturer of the machines or the software, they want to be certain of the cause.
It's possible the people who didn't pay, inadvertently, could eventually be charged, but Cooper says they'll have to figure out how to track down the drivers.
The $395,000 is less than 1 percent of the annual revenue the airport collects on parking, according to The Seattle Times. Although parking is the top non-aeronautical source of revenue.
Dave wants the machines fixed. Or, Luke says, give him a handy indicator to let him know which machines are the faulty ones.
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