HONOLULU (KHON2) — A company that aims to increase parking capacity across Hawaii recently added a new system in Ko Olina, and it’s driving away some patrons, especially those who have been ticketed.

Vahn Sivongxay has been ticketed twice, even though she was a paying customer.

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“It’s a lot of money. It cost as much as two to three meals for me!” said Sivongxay. “I’m on a budget. I mostly get treated by friends and families when we dine in or go shopping.”

The first time she got ticketed was after eating at Monkeypod Kitchen. After about two hours, she went back to her vehicle to find a ticket placed on her windshield. Her date also had one on his windshield. In another incident, she went to Island Vintage Coffee to get acai bowls with her friend. After waiting in line to pay, her friend went back to check on her car. Both tickets cost $29 each.

“Within 10 minutes, the ticket was on her windshield!” said Sivongxay. “So, Micki grabbed the ticket and told the wahine that we are waiting to pick up food! Gave the ticket back, while they’re issuing tickets to other vehicles.”

PARKLINQ at Ko Olina. (Courtesy: PARKLINQ)

According to Tyler Saenz, Founder and Product Architect of PARKLINQ, there’s a 15-minute grace period for quick shopping trips and mobile order pickups.

“Using our convenient technology, PARKLINQ is able to manage parking accessibility for customers and dissuade unauthorized parking,” Saenz said. “The lots are well-signed, and a lot attendant is available during peak hours to assist with questions on how to utilize our system.”

Saenz told KHON2 that his company was contracted by Ko Olina to provide a parking system at Ko Olina Station and Ko Olina Center to address a number of comments regarding the lack of available parking stalls for guests enjoying the shops and restaurants. The businesses have no connection to the parking system. That means it doesn’t matter whether you pay or don’t pay at Monkeypod Kitchen — you still have to pay for parking.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to customers. This is a new system that began last month, and many may not have realized the change.”

Tyler Saenz, Founder and Product Architect of PARKLINQ

Those who don’t comply with the parking terms will get ticketed and risk having their vehicles towed.

For Sivongxay, 15 minutes isn’t enough. She believes no one, including tourists, should pay the fees when they’re already giving service to the businesses there.

“I witnessed the tourists were very upset after they received the tickets,” said Sivongxay, “and also beforehand, when they were unable to process or pay the parking fees because their system and barcodes scanning doesn’t work!”

Sivongxay remembers the first time she tried to pay, the system allegedly wasn’t working.

According to Sivongxay, there is no booth or office where they can talk to someone if there are any issues. She remembers there being a guy in a golf cart watching and waiting to see whose vehicles were driving in and out of the lot. As soon as she parked and tried to scan the barcode, the golf cart was gone.

“He drove away, not to be available… Seems to me he knew exactly what’s happening!” she said. “When myself or other patrons were unable to pay for the parking, we would just go get our dinner.”

In response to her claims, PARKLINQ said Sivongxay is referring to Ko Olina security. Their own parking attendants don’t use golf carts. The company said their own workers are dressed in blue and white attire and have a PARKLINQ badge. If you don’t see one of them, call 808-213-0223.

Vahn Sivongxay has no plans to visit Ko Olina again after she was ticketed twice by the new paid parking system. (Courtesy: Vahn Sivongxay)

Saenz shared that they are in the process of updating Ko Olina’s parking system to include validation for paying customers at the retail stores and restaurants. This is expected to happen in July. However, there are no plans to get rid of the system.

“PARKLINQ’s parking system is permanent and is designed to improve lot turnover and stall availability for center shoppers by eliminating long-term hotel guest and employee parking in front of the shops and restaurants,” Saenz said.

Sivongxay thinks a validation service isn’t going to resolve this issue since these are self-parking lots next to businesses. Even if you’re picking up coffee, if there’s a line, your order could take more than 15 minutes.

“And there are small business owners trying to make ends meet and paying for their high leases. I’m feeling sad, and I won’t be able to go there again,” Sivongxay added. “I feel so restricted!”

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PARKLINQ is an all-digital touchless parking app that uses signs, smartphones and solar-powered 5G-enabled smart cameras. The company was established in October 2020 to give businesses an opportunity to earn extra cash for their unused parking spots.