Back when C first opened in Feb 2002, operations in the gate area where different than they are now. Then, all passengers stayed in the waiting area until their flight was called to a specific door next to the passenger service counters. Then passengers had the boarding passes checked (and ID
's back then too) and where semi-escorted down to their departure gate and them promptly loaded on the aircraft. This presented numerous problems as people got confused, presenting staffing nightmares, and also was difficult for passengers who were connecting within the C concourse from one Airlink flight to another.
This didn't last too long when they did away with the door system and let people have free roam of C and wait there as long as they'd like. They tell you to stay in the waiting area until 30 minutes prior to departure, and then head down to the aircraft. There is no need to wait for an hour and the departure gate, they only start boarding 20 minutes prior to departure. Usually they make an announcement for each flight to head down to the gate, but often there are so many announcements to listen to and they sometimes forget. If you just pay attention to the time yourself, you should have no problem.
Obviously one of the problems is the gate information. Gate changes occur very frequently and once you pass the monitors at the entrance of the corridor, there is nothing the rest of the way down.
You do bring up a good point. It just isn't cost effective to build such an elaborate facility for regional aircraft. The passenger count isn't there like mainline. Think about it, for a A320 you have 150 pax per aircraft, for an RJ
you have maybe 50. You don't need to have as many restrooms, stores, and restaurants, as the demand isn't there. It comes down to a cost per square foot factor I suppose.
I don't mind standing around, especially after just getting off a flight on a cramped CRJ.....to get some feeling back inside my legs after sitting next to 300 lbs landmonster named Betty from Wisconsin.....