Boyertown, PA, USA — The Panama Canal proudly celebrates its 100th birthday in 2014 and along with lock expansion, the Panama Canal Authority has been working with Gateway Ticketing Systems over the past year to update the ticketing and access control systems at the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center (Pacific Ocean side of the Panama Canal) and the Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center (Atlantic side of the Canal). The expansion and update of its ticketing capabilities will help enhance the Canal’s overall customer experience.
In addition to better access control and an expanded ticket office for the Miraflores site, they wanted to offer ticketing for the first time at the Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center. According to Nigel Rios, IT Manager at the Panama Canal Visitors’ Center, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) wanted their ticketing and access control system to represent the major global attraction that the Canal is:
“Tourism in Panama has been increasing and the Panama Canal is a must-see travel destination. We were interested in upgrading our ticketing system so we could provide better service to our visitors. At the Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side, tourists are eager to learn about the history of the Canal and how the vessels pass from one ocean to the other. On the Atlantic side we opened an observation center so visitors can watch the construction of the new set of locks and get information about the Panama Canal Expansion Project, one of the
greatest engineering projects of our time. Having our ticketing sales and access control points of both centers integrated in one platform, helps us immensely in our day to day operations.”
ACP’s Business Solutions Manager at Gateway, Jamie Flaherty, worked on the comprehensive project from the beginning: “With two sites nearly 50 miles apart geographically, this was a complicated and exciting project. The ACP came to us early on in their upgrade process and we were able to work with them on all facets of the project. We provided turnstile pass through numbers and used the building concepts for the Observation Center to provide a customized plan including data line schematics, the best turnstile options and power bandwidth dimensions as well as point-of-sale software and hardware selections. In the end, they had several comprehensive options to choose from.”
In addition to multiple admission turnstiles, handheld scanners for line busting and point-of-sale stations, there was also extensive training to make sure the ACP got the most out of its investment in Gateway’s flagship product suite, Galaxy™. Indeed, due to the Galaxy system upgrade, ACP representatives attended training at the Gateway Headquarters before project installation even started! In doing so, they were able to spend quality time with their Business Solutions Manager and other key members of the Gateway team working on their project. During their visit, they were also able to see the hardware they would be using to get a full understanding of what they would be working with upon installation. This hands-on training helped ensure a smooth implementation for ACP and an immediate enhancement of their customers’ experience.
The Panama Canal Authority’s partnership and coordination with Gateway has paid off: they now have access control at both locations with a dedicated network connecting the sites and have been able to add Galaxy Group Sales and Resource Management tools for more efficient operations. This is functionality that will be essential as the construction on the expansion site comes to a close in 2015 and, massive ships then take the place of cranes on display from the Observation Center.