TIA Working To Cut Congestion And Improve Customer Service



The Tampa Tribune

TAMPA - A customer service "Mystery Shopper" could join passengers who check bags and drop off or pick up passengers at the Tampa International Airport terminal curbside as part of an effort to reduce congestion and improve customer service.

The program to add a consumer viewpoint to assess airport operations would begin in December. It is among about four dozen goals to enhance customer service, growth planning and financial stability, among key airport initiatives.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is scheduled to discuss and approve new annual goals at its business meeting Sept. 6, along with approving a budget that includes $170.8 million for capital improvements and $92.7 million in operating expenses for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The goals include plans to:

?Increase nonstop domestic jet service by 2 percent.

?Enhance an international marketing plan to maintain or increase numbers of international passengers.

?Design a baggage claim expansion program.

?Reduce airline costs to no more than $4.15 per passenger in an effort to enhance airline recruitment.

The mystery shopper project would be one of the smaller proposals - no budget has been set yet - but important to improving curbside management, airport Director Louis Miller said.

"We would learn how effective we are getting our message out about using that congested area," said airport Police Chief Paul Sireci.

The airport's police department also wants to add four bicycles at a cost of $700 each to the eight that officers use to patrol the terminal, parking garages and other areas.

"It's a silent patrol that's help cut theft in the garages by 60 percent since we began bicycle patrols two years ago," Sireci said.

Next year, Sireci intends to seek a three-wheel vehicle similar to the battery-powered Segway, which is used at Miami International Airport. That would enable officers to travel up to 25 mph and carry equipment, Sireci said.

Reporter Ted Jackovics can be reached at tjackovics@tampatrib.com or (813) 259-7817.

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