Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Asinine Thinking by Udecott left 200 motorists stranded in POS Parkade

Dear Editor: Asinine Thinking by Udecott left 200 motorists stranded in POS Parkade

“It is asinine thinking to hold 200 motorists hostage in a car park because there is a glitch in your system. This is exactly what happened on Monday April 15 at the Parkade in Port of Spain.

“[…] This unfortunate situation comes on the heels of the Piarco incident which should have triggered every car park operator to develop a contingency plan to mitigate against such systemic glitches.”

In the following Letter to the Editor, columnist Dennise Demming rages against the Parkade management’s response to a glitch in its system, which kept an estimated 200 motorists hostage on Monday 15 April:

Photo: The Parkade on Edward Street, Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Trinigo.com)

It is asinine thinking to hold 200 motorists hostage in a car park because there is a glitch in your system. This is exactly what happened on Monday 15 April at the Parkade in Port of Spain.

The Parkade caters for 800 users and if we assume that 25% were caught in that glitch, it means that 200 motorists spent an additional hour trying to exit the car park.  It is our good fortune that there was no emergency.

The issue is that somebody needs to be empowered to make a judgement call and let the motorists out of the Parkade and forgo the revenue. Bearing in mind that 50 percent are on monthly contracts, we are talking about an approximate loss of TT$800.00 in revenue versus a societal cost of more than TT$10,000.00 between the cost per man hour and the gasoline consumed.

I shudder to think that there are people employed at Udecott for more than TT$30,000.00 per month and they are unable to do a simple cost/benefit analysis and give an instruction to let the 200 customers out free.

But it does not end there; consider what citizens lost from missing deadlines to increased stress and the additional fuel consumption of 200 cars idling for an hour in an enclosed space.

This unfortunate situation comes on the heels of the Piarco incident which should have triggered every car park operator to develop a contingency plan to mitigate against such systemic glitches. My wider learning is that our country has major problems with systems design and until we re-design our systems placing people at the centre, we will continue to operate in chaos.

Photo: A driver experiences road rage.

When we contemplate that we have lost the human touch, it is situations like this which underscore the attitude that people can be treated with disrespect and even dehumanised.

Imagine a person with a bladder issue taking more than an hour to exit a car park.  Imagine a person struggling with claustrophobia sitting in a car for more than an hour. Imagine the person whose car is not air conditioned inhaling the fumes from that car park.

I am sure this list can be expanded but it is simply indicative of an asinine attitude.  We must do better.

About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming
Dennise Demming grew up in East Dry River, Port of Spain and has more than 30 years experience as a Communication Strategist, Political Commentator and Event Planner. She has 15 years experience lecturing Business Communications at UWI and is the co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain. Dennise holds an MBA, a B.Sc. in Political Science & Public Administration and a certificate Mass Communications from UWI.

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  1. LOL,,,,While this no laughing matter, I have never read so many comments deviating from the topic..anyway…any company that installs any such equipment and doesn’t have a contingency plan in place in case of an emergency, they should not have been granted a license to operate it. How difficult would it have been to have a barrier switched to manually being operated, and the cashier charging the minimum fee/hour. ..If that wasn’t possible, then the facility should be closed until such an option is installed.. To the owner, that advice/recommendation was free.

    • What was the problem though? Was it a barrier? The article was poorly written and never lets us understand what caused the delay. How do we know it was the fault of the operators and not something outside of their control?

    • Kion S Williams I am not an investigative journalist so I have no responsibility to identify the cause. From the point of view of a customer, this was brutal, unjust and oppressive. I called an official who simple said we know we have a problem and will refund you so bear with us. You have no idea of my opportunity cost and how this impacted my life. Refunding me $8.00 is no compensation, it is in fact an insult. We simply must do better and it begins with systems, processes, procedures and people empowerment. The dominant narrative is still “to hell with you”, I am in charge!

  2. Dangerous. Exits shouldn’t be able to be blocked.

  3. What time was this? 200 cars seems to be an exaggeration tho. I park there. If 200 cars were lined up it would stretch all the way back to the roof and double back on itself. There are toilets so presumably drivers could get out and use them. A claustrophobic person probably wouldn’t be driving.

    Was it ridiculous to hold drivers waiting to exit while you sorted a problem so you wouldn’t lose revenue? Definitely. Losing revenue in that instance would have been an acceptable cost of doing business that day. This is an example of persons unable and unwilling to make decisions that affect both customers and revenue which results in frustration and a poor customer experience.

    • Alana Morton 200 cars may not be an exaggeration, though. I’ve been in the car park at Pricesmart where cars parked in slots couldn’t move. So even though the jam looked like 30 or so cars actively in the lanes tryi g to exit, another 60 odd were affected – idling but unable to move.

    • Damian R. Scott yes cars in slots still… But depending on the time it still may not have been 200. That’s why I asked. Between 11 and 12:30 and then again 3 to 5 are the heaviest exit times there that I’ve experienced.
      But why stay idling? In situations like that, I turn off the car until I can move. Gas really cheap here inno.

    • Alana Morton but we are astray from the point. I’m all for technological innovation and automation but if one breakdown such as this has no manual remedy, then as an entire system it is a flop.

    • Well thing is do we know what happened tho? There are 2 exits. Were both down or did they have one closed early for some silly reason? I notice lately the Richmond St. exit is closes off by 5:00 pm. I can only guess that they don’t have a cashier there. But they haven’t said or apologized. 2 weeks ago I took about half hour to exit on Queen St. because everyone was made to leave via one exit. Monthly customers should at least have the option to leave on Richmond St. since we don’t have to pay the cashier.

    • Alana Morton I was parked on the sixth floor. I returned to my car at 2:32 and exited at 3:42. The 200 car estimation is real.

    • I note they discounted you an hour.

    • Yes they did, but $8.00 in no way compensates for what I lost as a result of their inefficient system. My continued concern is that we are underperforming, our systems are broken, we function in chaos and I am seeing no end. The problems we experience have been solved all over the world. How is it that we have not made a difference for our people? What would it take to make this place liveable?

    • It would take the people being the change they want to see.

    • Dennise Demming Our systems are not designed with continuous improvement in mind unfortunately

  4. DD, I suspect that there are some asses out there who would object to your adjective on the grounds that it very unflattering to them.

  5. I could be wrong but we [all political factions] leave problems to fester by [presumably] sending all income earned back to central gov’t when the actual income should go into a fund for proper and timely maintenance/management. Parkade, Maracas, Las Cuevas and Macqueripe Bay, Community Centers, National Stadiums etc.

  6. None of the agencies especially government, puts contingency plans in place, if they did, we would not be flooded with an influx of illegal immigrants from Venezuela , although the political problems there was increaseing no one in National security saw the need for a contingency plan and now we are in deep shit , in this system we always reactive, never proactive.

  7. Wow! Dat is ting to cuss down the place for.

  8. this was annoying as fuck man.. i spent over 45 minutes trying exit the parkade… and i was billed for 2 hours instead of the 1 hour.. i only parked for 30 minute.s… i spoke to the lady at the exit was dismissed… i sent UDecott a nice love message on fb… this was pure bullshit

  9. Not sure if I missed it in the article…but what was the inciting incident that caused the delay?