Air­port to scrap free drop-off lane ‘to cut conges­tion’

Middleton Guardian - - EASTER PICTURE QUIZ - CHAR­LOTTE COX

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

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