Airport to scrap free drop-off lane ‘to cut congestion’
MANCHESTER Airport is scrapping free drop-off lanes - just in time for the summer getaway.
From June, passengers will either have to pay to use a terminal forecourt or park off-site for free and hop on a shuttle bus.
The move has come in a bid by airport bosses to relieve what they say is crippling congestion around the airport. So, from June, drivers will be charged £3 for five minutes on the forecourts of the terminals and train station or £4 for a maximum 10 minutes.
Airport bosses are opening a free off-site drop-off car park on Thorley Lane. Based in the former Jet Parks 1 - up to now a longstay car park for holidaymakers - passengers can be dropped off before taking a shuttle bus to their terminal.
It will take seven minutes to cover the half mile to terminal two or 12 minutes to bridge the 1.2-mile journey to terminals one and three. There will be special arrangements for passengers needing extra assistance, both on the terminal forecourts and at the free drop-off car park. The airport say they are working with disability groups on these arrangements and, if needed, passengers will be given more time at the terminals as well as help getting on and off the shuttle buses.
The congested roads around the airport have been the subject of a barrage of Twitter complaints in recent months.
The airport also commissioned a study of the site, which they say shows the forecourts are ‘broken’.
By next year, the report says, there could be 40 per cent more traffic. The problem, according to bosses, is caused by ‘kiss and fly traffic’ - when friends or relatives drop off passengers. It’s also due to drivers doing ‘circuits’ of the traffic system to avoid paying for parking. At peak times figures show one in five cars go to the forecourts at least twice.
There are no changes to pick-up policy, with drivers being told to continue using the £4-per-30 minute multi-storey. Staff who don’t have parking spaces will get free access to the terminals while taxi drivers who use the airport regularly will get a discount permit for the forecourt and multi-storeys. It’s not yet clear how much.
Tricia Williams, chief operating officer, said the new system would be clearly signposted so drivers can decide whether to pay or use the free car park. She added: “As passenger numbers have grown, we have increasingly experienced major congestion problems on our terminal forecourts.
“Our forecourts were not designed to handle the number of vehicles they do today and do not have the capacity to cope with any further growth in the number of people being dropped-off.”
Queues of traffic for the drop-off lane at Manchester Airport