by TEAM CLAIRE
THE date Dec 20, 2017, marked the first birthday of Awana SkyWay. According to operations executive Asman Faidy, 42, there are usually 20,000 passengers each day, rising to 30,000 on weekends.
The SkyWay’s operations team’s secret to their efficient service and crowd control lies in their strict schedules and thorough standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Ticket sales at the Awana SkyWay are done entirely through the self-service ticketing kiosks and the manually operated ticketing counters. The purpose of having two ticket providers is to ease the flow of human traffic.
As Siti Delilah Ngadenin, a 35-year-old operations supervisor, clarified, the self-service ticketing kiosks cater to walk-in tourists, while the counters serve mostly tour guides bringing large tour groups and disabled people, ensuring that now everyone can ride.
Siti Rufaidah Hassan, 26, works as a cashier at the ticketing counters of the Awana SkyWay. She explained that although cashiers like her sometimes face language barriers when communicating with foreign tourists, mobile translation applications clear up confusion fast and allow cashiers to process passengers’ orders quickly.
Another key component of crowd control is tight security. Auxiliary police officers like constable Kamarul Nizam, 24, are in charge of the baggage check-in at the Awana SkyWay. They are there to keep the skies clear of prohibited goods such as weapons.
Security at the Awana SkyWay is no laughing matter. Much like airport security, visitors are required to walk through Rapiscans, which detect and prevent prohibited goods from being brought aboard the Awana SkyWay.
Once given the all-clear, passengers wait at the queue area to board the gondolas.
Not only are the queue lines able to accommodate a staggering crowd of up to 800 passengers at a time, the station also has a special lane for wheelchair and glass-floor gondola passengers – which minimises chaos in the queue.
Another perk of the new SkyWay is that parents with strollers and disabled passengers in wheelchairs have access to a special seating area.
Assistant operations manager Hazel Winnie Baptist, 40, commented that technology has helped make the new Awana SkyWay much faster, with a bigger capacity. It is also friendlier to babies and special needs passengers.
Assisting thousands of people a day is a great responsibility, Parvindran Kunasegaran affirmed. The 23-year-old works as a senior crew member of the boarding platform operations team, who consistently listed crowd control as their major daily challenge.
One of the most common challenges Kunasegaran encounters in crowd control are passengers who want whole gondolas to themselves, rather than have each filled to its maximum capacity.
This tends to elongate the queue, but the average waiting time still does not exceed 20 to 30 minutes –thanks to the operations team’s organised queue management system.
Despite the challenges, Kunasegaran sees this as a “glass half full” situation as he gets to meet “interesting customers, especially international tourists”.
Baptist defined having a good day as being one that includes taking care of a very angry customer.
“That would be a challenge for me,” she said. “And I really, really like that – facing customers who are not satisfied, but in the end I am able to make them happy.”
Assistant vice president of SkyWay operations Francis Lee emphasised the level of detail that the operations team’s work requires.
“I need to ensure all these jobs are conducted accordingly with regular team inspections to ensure the system is in tip-top and smooth working condition, safe for all our visitors to the resort,” he said.
“Our operations team must ensure that the selling of tickets is smooth and that everybody who comes in has a valid ticket. They must ensure guests queue up in an orderly manner before boarding.
“Basically, we are providing a service, and I have to ensure that all our employees adhere to all our SOPs and provide exceptional services to our visitors so they are happy with their visit to the resort.”