Airport parking might not seem like a polarising subject, but the rapid adoption of levies for people wanting to use airport drop-off zones has kept the nation’s car parks at the top of the headlines in recent months.
Now, councillors in the southwest are bidding to keep parking problems in the spotlight for another week, by accusing Bristol Airport of increasing traffic congestion on the A38, a major trunk road that feeds the hub from the south.
The problem is again linked to drop-off zones, but unlike Edinburgh Airport, Bristol does not charge passengers for using the ‘kiss and fly’ area located outside the main terminal – for the first ten minutes, at least.
Drivers who want to stay for longer than ten minutes must pay a £4 fee for up to 30 minutes parking and £5 for 30-60 minutes. Stays of longer than 2 hours incur a charge of £50, the equivalent of 11 days parking in the long stay car park, when pre-booked.
Once the permitted stay has expired, drivers cannot use the free drop-off zone for a full 15 minutes.
Bristol councillors note that drivers are trying to ‘bend the rules’ by leaving the airport once the initial free period has elapsed, and parking on the roads surrounding the airport until the 15 minute no-return rule has lapsed.
Ironically, forcing drivers to leave the airport after ten minutes, a measure that is supposed to ease congestion at the hub, has contributed to a rise in the volume of traffic moving along nearby roads.
A spokesperson for the airport urged drivers to think carefully about how long they intend to stay – “customers using the drop-off zones for longer stays are reducing the number of spaces available for short ‘kiss and fly’ stops.”
The airport claims that the existing parking scheme encourages people to park in the “most appropriate car park” for the length of their stay, but residents in the village of Wrington, Bristol, want their local hub to make on-site parking more attractive to potential visitors.