By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver International Airport officials say they are looking for ways to avoid another parking problem like the one they faced over the weekend. All of the airport’s lots, garages and off-site lots were filled or nearly full on Saturday.

The airport says it was an unusual occurrence, and they’re looking for solutions with the holiday season nearing.

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(credit: CBS)

“We understand it’s a big frustration for passengers, so the sooner the better, and we’re on it. We’re trying to hire shuttle drivers and we’re trying to find creative ways if we can’t hire those folks, how can we still open those lots?” said Alex Renteria, spokesperson at DIA.

The Pikes Peak and Mount Elbert lots have been closed since the start of the pandemic due to lack of shuttle bus drivers. Those lots have more than 17,000 parking spaces.

“In order to open those lots, we need shuttle bus drivers because that’s a 24-hour operation,” Renteria told CBS4.

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With an even busier holiday season ahead, some are questioning if the airport is refusing to open the shuttle lots because it makes more money on the pricier economy and garage parking.

“Oh my gosh, that is the furthest thing from the truth,” Renteria replied. “We don’t care about the money portion. At this point, we understand that passengers need to get to their flight… If they’re going to park here, we want them to have an option.”

The parking lots available now include the east and west garages at $28 a day. The economy lots are $17 a day. For now, travelers are in a bit of a parking lot holding pattern until more shuttle bus drivers are hired or other lots are opened.

“We’re figuring out ways to make sure that their frustrations are gone,” said Renteria.

Renteria said the hope is to have the Pikes Peak and Mount Elbert lots opened by the end of the year. Staff are also considering possibly opening those lots temporarily during the holidays. The best bet, she says, is to check the airport’s website for the latest parking information.

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DIA’s website suggests alternatives like the 61st & Peña Boulevard lot at $6 a day, RTD’s A-Line or a ride share.

Kelly Werthmann