Beat the Traffic: EZ Tag parking at airports comes to an end
Posted on June 17, 2010 at 9:12 AM
Thursday, Jun 17 at 5:48 PM
If you have EZ Tag, you only have a few days left to use it to park at the airport. The program is coming to an end June 21, and now drivers are looking for a quick way to park and pay.
The EZ Tag parking program was largely ignored by drivers, one of the reasons the Harris County Toll Road Authority is taking it down. Even though Emma Rentcome believes an EZ Tag pass from the Harris County Toll Road Authority is essential to travel around the beltway, she says it's not worth it to use it to park at Houston's airports. "It's easier for me to use my corporate credit card and keep all of my expenses on one than go to my EZ Tag statement," she explained.
The EZ Tag airport parking program was implemented in 2006 at both Hobby Airport and Bush Intercontinental Airport. It allowed driver’s EZ Tag accounts to be charged when using airport parking garages and lots. Drivers have to "opt-in" to use the program, and only half the people who signed up actually used it. Ian Wadsworth, of the Houston Airport System, said the program was didn't provide a significant advantage to drivers, especially because dedicated EZ Tag payment lanes did not exist. "In some instances, it caused some customer confusion, and customer service problems because it overlapped these other payment options," he explained. Furthermore, the Harris County Toll Road Authority was losing money on the program. "The revenue that we brought in monthly was 90 thousand dollars, but it cost us 140 thousand dollars," Lawanda Howse, spokesperson for the HCTRA, said.
Meantime, Houston Airport Officials are encouraging drivers to use other options, such as InstaPark. The fully automated system allows drivers to use a credit card to pay without having to stop at the cashier. “I've never had any issues waiting, and I've always just driven on in and driven on out," Rentcome said. InstaPark is available at all parking garages and all terminals at IAH. Over 50 million passengers fly through Houston every year -- half of those passengers originate in Houston. There are 28,000 parking spaces at IAH, but airport officials are working to keep up with growing demand. "There's really nothing that we are not exploring, whether it's initiating valet parking here at the airport, or improving the ease of getting in or out of the garages," Wadsworth said.