Airport officials to crack down on curbside pick up

- Drivers picking up travelers at Tampa International Airport this holiday season will notice traffic officers cracking down on those who park or loop around the arrival area waiting for passengers to exit.

"Because of construction and higher passenger numbers, guests picking up passengers will no longer be able to circle the main terminal, as they're accustomed to doing," said Danny Valentine, spokesperson for TIA.

Ongoing construction at TIA has changed the traffic flow around the airport temporarily, and officials are worried drivers sitting curbside will cause traffic congestion when travel is expected to increase by 8 percent at the airport.

Drivers leaving the short-term and long-term parking garages also have to drive around the main terminal to exit the airport.

Anyone picking up a passenger is encouraged to wait at the economy parking lot, which is free for the first hour, or the cell phone waiting lot.

"We've got free wifi, vending machines and bathrooms," said Valentine. "So really it's a great place to come, sit and wait for a little bit until you know your passenger is ready."

"When you collect somebody, you have to go all around. It's like maneuvering a maze to try and get out," said David McRoberts, an Uber driver who visits the airport daily to pick up passengers.

McRoberts said having a large digital display screen in the cellphone lot showing when flights are arriving and department makes it easier for him to estimate when he should pull around to the terminal, but the new regulations can be frustrating for drivers.

"You tolerate it, you can't do anything about it, you can't change it," said McRoberts. "So you accept it and work with it."

The changes to pick up are temporary as construction continues into 2016.

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