I (don’t) wanna go outside in the rain
“Rain, rain, go away.
Come again another day”
Bermudian environmental planner Andrew Outerbridge commented in great detail in The Royal Gazette this week about his first impression of the new airport terminal.
He gave some mixed reviews that provide food for thought.
Here are some key excerpts:
“I disembarked into a soulless metal tunnel with no windows or relationship to the outside world.”
To be fair, most jetways around the world have no windows.
“My thought would have been, the many proud and talented Bermuda kite makers could have their kites juried and awarded a place in our airport. This event could be a yearly competition where the winners get their kites added to the collection.”
Well, this is an idea that is never too late to put in place. Skyport may very well take up the challenge.
“I then exited into the rain to wait for my transportation...That seemed pretty dumb to me....There is no cover when you get into your taxi...What about leaving Bermuda? Well, again, I arrived in the rain, and there is no complete cover on egress from your vehicle!”
To be fair, opinions on jetways and airport art can be subjective to the “eye of the beholder”. So, Mr Outerbridge’s views may not readily resonate with all travellers.
However, there is absolutely no one who wants to get wet before or after a flight.
Imagine our first-time leisure or business visitors getting drenched by “liquid sunshine”. Envision, if you will, seniors in wheelchairs or walkers being unnecessarily exposed to the elements.
Well, that is exactly what is in store for anyone travelling to or from Bermuda on a rainy day.
What makes it worse is that Skyport had this to say on the new air terminal upon its grand opening.
“The 288,000 square foot facility provides improved passenger processing, increased passenger capacity, greater resilience to extreme weather conditions, modern amenities and infrastructure, greater energy efficiencies, enhanced security, enhanced specialty retail and food & beverage outlets, and covered passenger jet bridges.”
Somehow, it failed to mention that there was no proper covering at the entrance of the airport.
Penny wise, pound foolish
Don't take my word for it.
Take a drive down the airport and you will see the folly for yourselves.
Only taxis and limousines are allowed to drop off or pick up passengers off at the kerbside on the inner ring. Even then, the extremely short overhang does not protect the passengers and the driver from rain as they depart the vehicles.
For those arriving in private vehicles, they have to get off at an outer ring and then walk hundreds of feet to the doorway to the terminal.
In the event of rain, there is a poorly designed canopy that is close to 30 feet high over the pedestrian crossing.
Newsflash to Skyport: people walking under the canopy on a rainy day will still get wet.
We deserve better
To add insult to injury, the excuse given is that international standards dictated that passenger cars cannot do kerbside drop-offs.
Here is the global reality.
At airports such as JFK, Miami International and throughout the Caribbean, private cars are allowed to drop off passengers at the kerbside. So exactly which international standards is Skyport speaking about?
One is left to wonder if Skyport thinks Bermudians and visitors, should suffer the indignity of getting wet on the way to catching a flight or walking out of the airport
Considering that all taxpayers have been forced recently to pay out more than $20 million to cover Aecon’s minimum revenue guarantee, the very least Skyport can do is allow travellers to have kerbside pick-up and drop-off with proper overhead coverage.
I will leave you with this question:
As we painstakingly rebuild our essential tourism product, what do we want our precious visitors to experience on a rainy day?
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org