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man critical of parking policy at airport

“Really aggressive”: a parking lot at L.F. Wade International Airport (File photograph)

Airport operators Skyport have defended their car-clamping policy after a traveller complained that his car was immobilised when he rushed his mother to the US for emergency surgery.

Steve Thomson had to fly with his mother to Boston for urgent treatment last week and left his car in the airport car park.

He planned to return on Saturday, but was delayed until Monday because his mother, who uses a wheelchair, needed a second operation.

Mr Thomson said: “My ticket for parking went until 11.59pm on Saturday. I was clamped at 9am on Sunday morning. When we got back on Monday, I also saw about 15 other cars clamped.”

He added that the policy was “really aggressive” and he and his mother were forced to wait more than an hour for the clamp to be removed from his car.

Mr Thomson said he followed instructions on the clamping notice and contacted the US call centre listed before he went to the airport to seek assistance.

He added that he was forced to track down the Skyport office and get them to radio clamping contractor Bermuda Security Group to come and free the vehicle, which was done after a total wait of an hour and 20 minutes — and a $150 fine.

Mr Thomson, who owns Mailboxes Unlimited and is also chairman of Bermuda Press (Holdings), the parent firm of The Royal Gazette, said: “I am aware of someone else who had to wait up to three hours.

He added: “If they’re going to clamp, there needs to be someone on site — that is the biggest sole issue for me.”

A spokeswoman for Skyport said the airport had introduced clamps in 2017 as “a necessary means to deter unauthorised parking within an international airport environment”.

She added that airport users whose returns were delayed could top up their accounts online if they used the EasyPark system.

The spokeswoman said that other people could contact the Airport Traffic Officer on 299-4828 to make an arrangement to settle their bill when they returned.

She added: “Persons who have had their vehicle clamped are advised to contact Bermuda Security Associates on 292-2626 to settle the fine and have the clamp removed.

“They have been contracted by Skyport and are expected to respond within a timely manner.”

The spokeswoman said anyone who felt they had to wait too long should also contact the airport traffic officer by phone or at info@skyport.bm.