In a UK airport first, passengers, staff and local residents can now reserve and pick up a 100% electric car at Gatwick – and return it to any of 300 compatible pick up/ drop off points across London or back at Gatwick – the airport announced yesterday.
The service – similar to schemes popular in other parts of the world – is being rolled out in partnership with Bluecity, the only company to operate a pan-London electric vehicle car sharing service with 100 cars currently available in total.
Discussions are also ongoing with local authorities and business groups about expanding the network further in London and in areas surrounding the airport.
Operating in a similar way to existing cycle schemes across the capital, ten cars and charging points are currently available on Gatwick’s South Terminal forecourt. This is Bluecity’s first airport hub and discussions are in progress to increase capacity.
The new point to point service gives people using the airport a convenient, zero emissions travel option for getting directly on and off the airport and is purposely designed to be easy to locate and use, with customers able to reserve a car in seconds via the Bluecity app.
Local residents are also encouraged to use the service and Gatwick staff have also been offered the opportunity to trial the service for free.
A standard journey in a Bluecity car from central London is also an affordable travel option to the airport. The four-seater’s drive from Central London to the very front of the airport will cost around £15 in moderate traffic.
The service is also flexible and works both ways, so that those travelling to Gatwick from the capital can pick up a car at any of the London-based charging points and drop it off at the airport.
Car sharing is also growing in popularity in the UK and this new partnership represents another first in Gatwick’s journey to be the UK’s most sustainable airport. Gatwick is accredited as a carbon neutral airport, uses 100% renewable electricity and 44% of passengers currently get to the airport by public transport.
The 24,000 staff on Gatwick’s airport campus and local residents are also being encouraged to use the new electric car sharing service.
Gatwick Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer Guy Stephenson said:
“Gatwick leads the way on airport innovation and this UK airport first not only offers a new, flexible option for getting on and off the airport, it also improves air quality.
“When it comes to electric car sharing schemes, few companies have experienced the success of Bluecity and its parent company. Given the popular demand for similar electric car sharing services in other parts of the world, this new service has the potential to take off in the UK and we are proud to be at the forefront of this transport revolution.”
Bluecity’s Managing Director Christophe Arnaud said:
“We are particularly proud of this milestone agreement with Gatwick Airport and look forward to our collaboration for years to come. We believe this new service is a fantastic solution for travellers. Our cars are powered exclusively with 100% renewable energy making the service the greenest and most affordable transport option to and from Central London.”
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Gatwick Airport staff who assist passengers suspend strike
Two planned 48 hour stoppages involving Gatwick airport workers which were set to start tomorrow (Tuesday 20 November) and Monday 26 November have been suspended while workers vote on a revised pay offer, the Unite union announced today (Monday 19 November).
The workers, employed by the logistics giant Wilson James, provide assistance to passengers with disabilities and those who need help getting around Gatwick airport.
The dispute centres on a demand for a £1 an hour pay rise. Those assisting disabled passengers are paid just £8.27 per hour.
Workers will now vote on whether to accept or reject a revised offer with voting closing on Monday 10 December. A third planned 48-hour stoppage on 21/23 December is set to go ahead should members reject the offer and the pay dispute remains unresolved.
Commenting Unite regional officer Jamie Major said:
“The two 48 hour stoppages in November have been suspended while members vote on whether to accept or reject a new pay offer from Wilson James.
“The last thing our members want is to cause inconvenience and distress to those passengers who rely on their services during their time at Gatwick.
“However, should they reject the new pay offer and no resolution to the dispute is found, then the possibility of a 48 hour strike in December remains live.”