London Gatwick to introduce vehicle drop off fees from Monday
It is not going to be popular, but London’s Gatwick Airport is to go ahead with its decision to introduce a £5 charge for vehicles dropping off passengers directly outside its North Terminal.
The UK gateway will introduce the charge from Monday, March 8, and describes it as “a new revenue stream to help protect the business and preserve jobs” following the loss of £465.5 million and over 40% of its workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fee applies to all vehicles except for passengers holding a Blue Badge and staff employed on the airport campus and anyone who does not wish to pay the charge will be able to drop-off or pick-up passengers in the airport’s long-stay car parks with two hours free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminal.
The charge will also be introduced at the South Terminal forecourt on April 12, in preparation for the expected restart of international travel following the UK government’s COVID-19 roadmap.
Local commuters living in postcode sectors (RH6 0, RH6 9, RH11 0) with limited public transport access will be allowed two visits per day to use the train station by paying an annual £50 charge – after registering at www.gatwickairport.com/dropoff
The airport is also claiming that the introduction of a drop off charge will encourage more sustainable journeys to the airport – including use of Gatwick’s strong public transport links – and may also reduce traffic congestion.
It notes that reducing the airport’s environmental impact continues to be an important focus for the airport and Gatwick will contribute revenue generated from the drop off charge into the airport’s existing Sustainable Transport Fund.
Chief commercial officer, Jonathan Pollard, said: “We recognise that a drop off charge is never going to be popular with some people, however, given that we have just announced losses of £465 million and a reduction of more than 40% of our workforce in 2020, we have little choice but to explore new revenue streams to help us protect the remaining jobs.
“Equally, as we consider how to rebuild better, we hope this new scheme will also encourage passengers to consider more sustainable journeys to the airport, including using our excellent public transport facilities.
“A proportion of the revenue raised through the drop off charge will be used to support new sustainable transport initiatives, in addition to the investment in our new £150 million airport train station which is progressing well.”
The charge will be £5 for 10 minutes, and £1 for each additional minute up to 20 minutes. The maximum charge will be £25 and the maximum length of stay 30 mins.
People picking up passengers should continue to do so from the short stay car parks as it often takes more time to collect passengers.
Short stay car park users are permitted a 30-minute stay for the same tariff (£5) as 10 minutes on the forecourts. Alternatively, passengers can be picked up in the long stay car parks where parking is free for up to two hours, using the free shuttle bus from the Terminal.
Charging and enforcement – including penalty notices – will be managed using convenient barrier free technology and Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, operated by National Car Parks (EUK) Ltd.
Passengers can pay online using a range of payment methods including credit or debit card, Google and Apple Pay.
A Red Route system will be introduced across the airport campus to indicate that stopping to park, load or unload, board or alight from a vehicle is prohibited.
Revenue raised through Red Route fines will also be used to fund sustainable transport initiatives under the guidance of the airport’s Transport Forum Steering Group.