New signs at airport designed to speed pickups
By Risa Polansky
Prompted by county commissioners earlier this month, Miami International Airport is installing new signage outside the baggage area designed to better facilitate passenger pickup.
"Right now, we have no carousel numbers on curbside," said Carlos Jose, division chief of terminal maintenance at the airport. "People would like the convenience to tell family or friends, "Look, I'm at Carousel 22. Come pick me up."
Six of 10 planned signs have been installed at the passenger pickup area outside the lower-level baggage claim area in the past week and the rest will be in place by week's end, Mr. Jose said.
The project will cost $3,600 in materials and labor, to come out of the airport's operating budget.
Passenger pickup is labeled by airline. Numbers corresponding to the interior baggage carousels will be an addition so drivers can more easily spot arriving passengers.
However, "we're trying not to saturate the passengers with too much signage," Mr. Jose said. "These are temporary signs. We will implement some nicer-looking signs later on."
Airport officials will survey passengers for responses to the new signage and will add, remove or change signs as seems appropriate, Mr. Jose said.
"Signage lives and breathes every day to benefit the public," he said.
A similar system was in place about nine years ago but proved "not very effective," Mr. Jose said.
It was removed to encourage people to park and meet arriving travelers inside to reduce congestion in the passenger pickup zone.
But commissioners felt it was time to reinstate the signage system, he said.
Over the next four years, as new terminals are completed, airport officials will implement a $25.5 million signage overhaul, Mr. Jose said. The project will include color-coded and LCD signs on area roadways and airport property, he said.
Airport visitors will begin to see the effects in August at the partial opening of the new South Terminal, he said.
"We're going to grab you by the hand and bring you into the closest parking area. We're going to bring you into the airline you're flying from," Mr. Jose said. "We're going to reduce the amount of time you're going to take from Point A to Point B by signage."