A Warning Against Too Much Automation

Posted February 16, 2018 by Mary McGinley

Many companies are trying to automate as many jobs as possible in an effort to not only cut costs and improve efficiencies. However, even with the best intentions, sometimes not having a real person on hand to override automated services gone awry can present a whole set of problems. That is what several drivers who ended up being stuck in a parking garage in Asheville, North Carolina found out firsthand.

In a story that appeared on the ABC affiliate station website WLOS, a number of motorists, including one of the producers for the news station were stuck in the Pack Square parking garage located on Biltmore Avenue found they unable to leave the structure last Wednesday.  

The ticket booth showed an error message that prevented the gate from allowing the motorists to leave. Several of those who were waiting called the Asheville Police Department to inform them of the issue. They were told that Asheville Parking Services were notified of the problem.

When the situation was still not resolved after approximately 30 minutes, one of the individuals waiting broke the parking gate that was preventing him and fellow motorists from leaving. It only took a few minutes for those who were waiting to be on their way once again.

According to Brent Weber, Vice President of Preferred Parking which manages the operations of the garage, the issue was caused by an internet outage that caused the issue. In cases of power outages, the gates would automatically rise and allow patrons of the garage to leave. This didn’t happen because although the Internet service was down, there was still power.

Weber said that the person who broke the gate was right in doing so, and in the future, the management agency intends to have someone available 24/7 to monitor and to answer such calls.