Oh, Manchester Airport. The airport that brought you fees and fines for breathing if you bring a car near the premises is now announcing a crackdown on inconsiderate and illegal parking in neighbouring communities.
Manchester Airport is conducting the work along with Manchester City Council and the region’s police forces to tackle inconsiderate and illegal parking.
This follows poor practices by some unofficial parking firms operating near the airport. Cheshire Constabulary launched Operation Cicero in June, with the aim of identifying any wrongdoing and taking enforcement action where appropriate.
The rogue firms have previously caused problems in the Wythenshawe area, leaving vehicles for long periods of time on residential streets, despite claiming they would be stored securely.
Park Mark is a Police Crime Prevention Initiative designed to tackle crime in parking facilities, with over 5,000 accredited car parks in the UK, whilst Buy With Confidence is a government scheme listing providers vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.
The airport, Manchester City Council and police bosses are urging passengers to use these schemes when selecting which company to use. You can find out more about the schemes at www.parkmark.co.uk or www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.
The Airport is also taking action to combat congestion caused by the increased number of taxis and private hire vehicles travelling to and from the airport at the height of the summer season. To combat this, the airport operates a dedicated Private Hire waiting area for drivers to use in between jobs, so that there is no need for vehicles to wait in neighbouring residential areas.
Such generosity doesn’t normally come cheap, but the airport has responded to increasing passenger numbers by cutting the cost of this waiting area in half during the school summer holidays, meaning taxi drivers can wait for up to three hours with just a £1 contribution to the facility’s upkeep.
Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director at Manchester Airport, said:
“We understand that for taxi drivers, particularly those based some distance from the airport, it makes financial sense to wait in the area for a return fare rather than to make the return journey without a passenger.
“However, when a high number of private hire vehicles wait in neighbouring residential areas, it can create congestion and increase the risk of inconsiderate or illegal parking.
“That is why we have introduced this scheme for the summer holiday period, which we expect will alleviate pressure on street parking capacity in areas such as Wythenshawe and Woodhouse Park, by providing an affordable alternative for commercial drivers who need to remain in the area for extended periods.
“Meanwhile, we continue to take the issue of rogue meet and greet firms very seriously. In addition to our own official parking, there are a number of reliable and reputable third-party providers located near the airport and we would always urge passengers to do their research before handing over their keys.
“We encourage customers to use initiatives such as Park Mark and the government-backed Buy with Confidence scheme to find a provider that has undergone a series of detailed checks and is committed to trading fairly.”
Inspector Andrew Baker, from Cheshire Police, said:
“When booking airport car parks people often go for the cheapest option – but sometimes this isn’t the best choice.
“Here in Cheshire, we have received a number of complaints from residents in relation to rogue parking companies which are operating near Manchester Airport. These companies claim to be secure car parks which are affiliated to the airport. In reality, the vehicles are often stored in insecure muddy fields.
“As a result, we have had reports of vehicles being damaged or even having parts stolen. In other cases, we’ve been contacted by people who’ve returned home to find their vehicles have been driven thousands of miles while they’ve been on holiday.
“While we are committed to working closely with our partners to tackle these issues, it’s essential that holiday makers play their part.
“I would urge anyone who is going on holiday and looking to book a parking slot, to do their research, choose a reputable company and always book through an official website and don’t just go for the cheapest option. Otherwise your car may be touring the UK while you are travelling the world.”
Councillor Leigh-Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, said:
“The airport is one of the pillars of the region’s economy and it is positive to see its recovery following Covid-19. But for some local residents the impact of inconsiderate parking has been significant. I’m glad to see that Manchester Airports Group are putting in place measures to alleviate this during one of the busiest periods of the year.
“As ever the Council would recommend anyone leaving their car at the airport when they fly to use reputable businesses and not fall prey to rogue operators. The Buy with Confidence Scheme is the best and easiest way to ensure your car is safe when on holiday.”
Some blessings, brought on by Manchester Airport
From the airport that charges to drop off passengers (and don’t you dare attempt to pick them up – you have to park… and pay for it), there is some news for those who are neighbours to the airport and have to put up with its behaviour.
Immeidently, the low-cost waiting area for taxis will be welcome (especially with a heavily reduced cost), which should clean up the local area of transitory traffic.
As for the parking schemes, there have been plenty of horror stories of how some off-site parking has been managed, as well as those who just dump cars near the local area, impacting their lives.
Whilst these schemes will be a good start, it won’t affect those who are looking to scrimp and save every penny (be it for genuine other reasons), who will pick the cheapest option, park in a local area to wait for their next ride, or just try to cut costs where they can.
And that may need better encouragement… or enforcement.
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