SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Nationwide Parking Services is out and Standard Parking Services is in at the Shreveport Regional Airport. Chicago-based Standard Parking Corporation is now in charge of managing parking and fee collection, but Nationwide Executive Director Glenn Waller told KSLA News 12 that the equipment and the 16 employees that worked for the company will stay on with Standard. "Our whole objective today is to make this transition seamless to the customers, and seamless to the airport." That transition appeared to be complete by the 4:00 p.m. deadline, with no lapse in gate operations and fee collection.
By 4:30 p.m., operations manager Harold Artison was scraping the Nationwide logos off of the collection booth windows. Airport customers will continue to be able to pay by cash or credit card, but for at least a few hours while credit card machines were being re-programmed, Waller says attendants would have to manually process payments. According to Waller, 70% of parking fees were paid with credit cards. According to Tuesday's official announcement, "airport parking rates remain unchanged at this time."
The changes come following Nationwide's failure to pay the city $700,000 owed to the city of those collected fees. Nationwide Parking Services of Shreveport, LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in February, making it impossible for the airport go after the company for the money. In April, the City of Shreveport took Nationwide to court to force the company to either come up with evidence of its ability to pay, or to dissolve the contract. Nearly three months later, Nationwide withdrew it's objection to that request and asked the court to dismiss the bankruptcy case. A ruling by a bankruptcy judge in Denver at the end of June freed the City of Shreveport and the airport authority from the remainder of the contract. On July 1, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover announced Nationwide had been given notice. "The bottom line is, is that the nightmare of Nationwide Parking of Shreveport in terms of parking operations...will come to an end by 4 PM of this coming Tuesday." The mayor has also said they intend on taking legal action to get the $700,000 owed to the city, plus damages.
"I think we've done an outstanding job," Waller said Tuesday. "Our employees have done an outstanding job, we've never had any complaints about or customer service or our operations." Waller can't comment on the financial or legal complaints, but he did suggest that the loss of passengers going to other airports for cheaper fares impacted their bottom line. "If they don't park here, then the revenues aren't here, so these kinds of issue definitely affect our ability to pay bills."
Standard Parking was chosen from four companies that submitted proposals to take over at Shreveport Regional Airport, and will operate under an interim month-to-month management agreement until a permanent parking plan is determined by the Shreveport Airport Authority. At an official announcement Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Glover touted the Chicago-based company's qualifications. "I am pleased to announce that the airport has a nationally recognized and highly seasoned parking operator now in place. Standard Parking's experience makes them an industry leader. More importantly for Shreveport, Standard is stepping in and taking over this operation with a short notice and is being extremely flexible in working with the airport and customers to provide a high level of service."