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PPA Officers To Be Trained On Being Friendly, Helpful

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Parking Authority apparently wants a kinder, gentler image, and so officials are going to be training their hundreds of enforcement officers on how to be more friendly and helpful.

The Authority Board, at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, voted to take part in a hospitality training program being organized by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau dubbed "Philly Welcomes U." 

Senior Director of Administration Sue Cornell says the Parking Authority is well aware that its 250 enforcement officers are known to be ruthlessly efficient when it comes to writing tickets.  But, she says, they can still be cordial.

"We want people to know that even though our parking enforcement officers are very efficient at their jobs, it doesn't mean that interactions with them have to be a negative thing.  We think it's very important for all of our employees who have interaction with the public to be trained in how to interact properly, and to give visitors and tourists and residents alike a friendly face to Philadelphia."

The 'Philly Welcomes U" program will include courses on anticipating the different types of visitors, anticipating their needs, and the use of importance of 'active listening' and 'positive language.'   Other agencies are being invited to participate in the PCVB effort.

The Parking Authority Board voted to give the PCVB $60,000 toward the development of the courses. Cornell says she doesn't yet know when the training will begin. 

"We've decided that we want to be on the forefront of this hospitality initiative, to show the rest of the city that the Parking Authority is very concerned and aware of these issues."

Cornell adds that the material may also be incorporated into the training that's already required of taxi drivers who operate in the city.

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