New Parking Lot at Sacramento International Causing Confusion for Travelers

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SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento International Airport is expecting to serve a million more passengers than last year.

More fliers means more drivers will be pulling up to SMF.

To meet the demand, the airport opened a second economy parking lot called the West Economy Parking Lot.

It offers the same $10-a-day rate as the East Lot but it works differently than any other lot at the airport.

"It was irritating but nothing serious," traveler Jack Carrell expressed.

Unlike the other airport lots where you take a ticket when you enter and pay when you leave, the Economy West Lot has kiosks where you pay by entering your license plate number and wait for the shuttle.

"I was really confused with kind of the metering and trying to figure out where the shuttles are picking people up because there’s not a sign for that," traveler Shelby Link said.

Link spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out the system and then had to go back to her car when she realized she needed her license plate number.

"I’m very used to taking the ticket and paying when you’re about to head out so I was really surprised to pay my money right upfront before getting on the shuttle," Link said.

One couple almost got on the shuttle without paying and likely would have returned to a hefty parking ticket.

They didn't feel it was clear how the lot works.

"I’m not sure this is a bad way of doing it but I think that you just don’t know, I kept seeing all these signs and I like I’m not sure what that means," Diane Carrell said.

Additionally, airport officials say shuttles can take up to 30 minutes during peak times.

"We have added more buses and we have added more drivers to assist with shuttle times and adding for the West Economy," SMF communications officer Samantha Mott explained. "Honestly the best advice I have is really arrive two hours early."

For people who forget to pay for parking in the West Economy Lot and want to avoid a ticket, airport officials said they can call their parking office and make arrangements over the phone.

However, you must do this before your car is ticketed.

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