Thursday, October 31, 2013

La Crosse Regional Airport (KLSE), Wisconsin: Cashiers lose jobs to automated pay stations

LA CROSS, WI (WXOW)— Doug Gourley has loved coming to work as a cashier at the airport for the last four years. 

 "I thought I'd grow old at this job. We'll see what happens," Gourley said.

On December 9, the La Crosse Airport is letting their contract expire with Standard Parking, the company that operates the parking lot pay booths.

Eight employees, that run one booth, will be replaced with two automated pay stations.

"Lots of words come to mind," Gourley said. "I don't know what I can say. It bites."

Clint Torp, Airport Manager said their existing gear is aging.

"It was time to replace equipment," Torp said. "The same move the rest of the industry is moving towards automating these systems."

Ultimately, the decision came down to customer experience.

"Right now we are only able to keep one booth open," Torp said. "So when a flight lets go we get significant backups."

"I think for the business people it will be great because they'll be able to credit card. 80-percent of business here is credit card they'll be able to zip in zip out," Gourley said. 

People wanting to pay cash will have to go inside the airport.

Anyone with problems out at the booths can get help with the touch of a button.

"That person is going to be looking through a little camera trying to figure out what your problem is. Where as I know what your problem is and I can fix it right now," Gourley said.

But there is nothing he can do about it besides counting down the days and hitting the job boards.

"It took me two years after I got hurt on another job to get this job," Gourley said. "So I don't know how long it's going to take me to find another job. Who wants to hire a 53-year-old with health problems?"

Torp said the airport will be posting two part time jobs to help with maintaining the new automated systems.

He said people currently working in the booth are able to apply.


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