I’ve been in a bit of a grump this month (What’s new??). Mostly about airports, a good while ago Liverpool irritated me by charging for drop off as well as pickup and that has come to Manchester over the last few weeks.
The official line is that it was to “ease congestion” on the site, I’m somewhat sceptical, I don’t see how charging to drop off will make cars magically disappear. And thus, it would seem to be true. There was a bit of an issue with people picking up in drop off areas at Manchester airport to avoid paying parking charges, and who can blame people, either the general public picking up friends and family or taxis drivers trying to earn a few extra quid.
Now the drop off charges are in place the congestion around the drop off areas has decreased massively, because everyone is using the pickup car parks like originally intended. But, and it’s a big BUT; The congestion has now moved to the pickup carparks, which while they have enough spaces don’t allow for enough traffic throughput to cope with the extra demand, and in some cases where a driver pays for parking in the terminal, there isn’t time for them to get out of the car park within the allotted time!
I don’t like to rant without offering a solution, but in this case the only one I can offer is to demolish the car parks and completely rebuild them, start from scratch (especially terminal 3) with increased capacity for vehicles arriving and leaving.
Back to the subject of drop off charges, the maximum wait time is 10 minutes, which for dropping most people off would be absolutely fine, however imagine having a wheelchair bound customer, unloading a wheelchair takes significant time and effort, and from experience it would easily be possible to exceed the allotted 10 minutes, for which the penalty is £25, a bit harsh because your customer/friend/family member happens to be in a wheelchair and need some extra help to get into the terminal.
All in all I’m not impressed with Manchester Airport, but I guess they need to pay for the extension to terminal 2 somehow! (Cynic or realist, you decide!)