If you’re travelling from Gatwick Airport in the near future – and want to be dropped off in front of the North terminal – the proposed charges for doing this are going into effect from the 8th March 2021.
The airport announced this was coming in October 2020, with the airport introducing a £5 charge for vehicles which drop off passengers directly outside its North Terminal, where all flights are currently operating to and from.
The charge will be extended to the South Terminal forecourt at a later date – once it reopens.
The airport claims that the initiative will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions for the surrounding area as well as being a deterrent for a car-led recovery once more regular travel resumes post the COVID-19 national lockdown. It will also create a new revenue stream for the airport – which has been hit hard by the pandemic
£5… to start with.
Be prepared to pay if you wish to use this service. 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 minutes.
There will be no barriers – but there will be Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. Passengers using the system will be able to pay online using a range of payment methods including credit or debit card, Google and Apple Pay. Marshals will also be on hand in the forecourts to assist passengers.
Blue badge holders will be able to access the forecourt free of charge by registering their details (www.gatwickairport.com/dropoff) up to three months in advance before arriving at the airport.
What if I don’t want to pay £5?
If you don’t want to pay £5, you will need to factor more time into your journey. You 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.
Alternatively, passengers can arrive by public transport – with the airport linked to London and beyond by bus, coach and train.
The airport argues that this could contribute to a reduction in traffic in the local area, with 15% of journeys to the airport being dropoff traffic.
Local residents have options
When the charge is introduced for the South Terminal, at a later date, local commuters living within a limited number of postcode sectors close to the airport (RH6 0, RH6 9, RH11 0) with no public transport access will be allowed two visits per day to use the train station by paying an annual £50 charge. Residents in these areas wishing register with the Local Commuter Scheme should visit www.gatwickairport.com/dropoff for information on how to register.
Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:
“It is no secret that the airport is going through the most difficult period in its history and we have little choice but to explore new revenue streams that will us help us recover from the COVID-19 crisis and continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.
“This new scheme will also encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including taking advantage of our excellent public transport services. We plan to use this charge to build on these services by using a proportion of the revenue raised to support new sustainable transport initiatives, in addition to our ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station which is progressing well.”
Picking the low hanging fruit
With major airports struggling due to the downturn in traffic, its no surprise that Gatwick Airport is implementing the dropoff charge – even Heathrow has followed in its steps to charge for forecourt drop and go services.
And once they get a taste of this sweet income, you can bet they won’t be wanting not to charge for it when the good times come again.
It’s very easy low-hanging fruit to pick.
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