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£3.8 million bus and rail hub upgrade at Gatwick is completed

A transport hub – used by 3 million people each year – that links the local bus network with Gatwick Airport and its train station received a boost today after the completion of a £3.8 million upgrade – marked in a launch ceremony attended by Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council.

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Improvements include two new lifts from the southbound road-level bus stops on the A23 into the South Terminal – and Gatwick’s train station – for people travelling with luggage, parents with pushchairs and passengers with reduced mobility.

Further improvements have been made to the bus stop areas on both the northbound and southbound A23, including new pedestrian and wheelchair accessible routes, new seating and improved lighting and signage in and out of the terminal.  New help points have also been installed with the live information screens also updated.

The new infrastructure improves an important transport hub for local passengers who arrive by bus and for workers employed at the airport and the nearby Manor Royal Business District and Crawley town centre.  Over 650 bus departures currently operate from the hub, each week including high frequency, 24-hour services connecting the airport to Horley, Redhill and Horsham, with other services linking to East Grinstead and Reigate.

Over 30% of airport staff who live locally get the bus to work. The improved access will also benefit some of the 1 million regular commuters who live locally and use Gatwick’s train station every year to get to work – many of whom arrive at Gatwick by bus.

The improvements are designed to offer more sustainable public transport options and were funded as part of the airport’s £1.1 billion capital investment programme, with future investment assigned to improvements in rail services, walking routes and bus facilities in the North Terminal.  The investment will help the airport achieve its target of getting nearly half of passengers (48%) to the airport by public transport and 42% of staff by sustainable methods, including public transport, car share and zero emission vehicles.

This project also acts as a key investment within the Crawley Growth Programme – a £60m investment package of infrastructure improvements and regeneration for Crawley – which includes significant investment from strategic partners including West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and Coast to Capital LEP.   

Gatwick contributed this project as match funding to the overall Growth Programme as it delivers enhanced access to sustainable transport modes, linking Gatwick Airport Rail station with local bus networks connecting the Airport with Manor Royal and Crawley Town Centre.

The improved bus infrastructure comes just days after the redevelopment of Gatwick’s train station was also announced – with a £148 million improvement programme that will see the size of the concourse double in area to reduce congestion and improve the passenger experience, with more escalators and lifts also installed to improve access to the platforms.

Emma Rees, Head of Real Estate, Gatwick Airport, said: “Together we wanted to improve the overall quality of experience for local people including passengers and staff who arrive at the airport by bus.  The improvements provide a new level of accessibility for all local bus users and will also help to encourage the increased use of sustainable forms of public transport such as the bus and train.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners who together helped to deliver this important new piece of local infrastructure.”

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said:The completion of this project by Gatwick will make a real difference to airport station users and improve accessibility for all users. It promotes the use of sustainable transport methods for commuters, tourists and Gatwick’s own members of staff. This project was key within the wider Crawley Growth Programme, which is spearheading regeneration in the Crawley area. Gatwick’s support for the wider Growth Programme has been a tremendous boost.”

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “We very much welcome this upgrade, which provides significant benefits for passengers and workers arriving and departing the airport by bus and is the latest Crawley Growth Programme scheme to promote more sustainable travel.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said: “Gatwick Airport is the single biggest driver of economic growth in the Coast to Capital area and is at the heart of future growth for the region.  Gatwick is vital not only to our economy but that of the wider South East and the UK as a whole. We are delighted that the Crawley Growth Programme is helping to improve access to the area in a sustainable way and we look forward to working with partners to deliver our shared vision for the airport.”

Hill Metrobus Commercial Director, Metrobus said:This is great news for millions of bus users each year as it makes the interchange with the terminal concourse and railway station so accessible, simple and quick, making it much more attractive for people to travel to the airport sustainably.”

The overall project has delivered direct routes suitable for passengers with reduced mobility between northbound and southbound A23 bus stops and Gatwick’s South Terminal including:

  • Two new passenger lifts on southbound side of A23 allowing direct access into south transit station including a link lobby and an external canopy connecting to existing bus stop
  • Bus stop improvements (north and southbound on A23)
  • New pedestrian route from northbound bus stops to south terminal (via Costa stairwell and/or Yotel/Regis lifts)
  • Cosmetic improvement to Costa Stairwell including stair nosing
  • Improved associated wayfinding

Education

Two hundred local pupils attend Eco summit at Crawley school

The Gatwick sponsored ‘Eco, Young, and Engaged’ (EYE) conference saw eight local schools and 200 pupils from Crawley and Horsham attend Ifield Community College on Monday to get a practical understanding of the environment and the importance of sustainability.

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Aged between six and seventeen, pupils chose between 13 workshops where they could learn about making their own compost and the wildlife within it, and about the effect that different clothing materials have on the environment and therefore which ones are more sustainable to buy and wear.

Other workshops included practical team challenges on how to upcycle (reuse) everyday items – such as using old milk bottles as planters for herbs – and how to harness the power of both wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity.

The conference is part of the wider EYE campaign which seeks to bring schools in West Sussex together to focus on the importance of caring for our planet – to promote sustainability and encourage young people’s interest in environmental issues.

Gatwick’s Head of Sustainability, Rachel Thompson, gave an introductory talk on what sustainability is and its importance for protecting the environment.  She also discussed Gatwick’s ‘Decade of Change’ report, which tracks the airport’s progress on ten sustainability targets set over a ten year period (2010 to 2020), and explained how Gatwick’s buildings and fleet are carbon neutral.

The sponsorship of the conference is part of Gatwick’s wider community engagement programme which aims to make lasting and positive impacts to local communities and young people. Gatwick is also partnering with 15 local schools as part of the Primary Engineer programme to help schools teach STEM-based subjects in a more relatable and practical way to inspire more students to study the subjects.

Rachel Thompson, Head of Sustainability, Gatwick Airport said:

“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and hear their excellent questions and ideas. We hope today’s event will inspire more eco school projects and also encourage more students to consider studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and pursuing careers in sustainability.”

Irram Ali, Ifield Community College Eco Lead, said:

“It was an honour to have been able to host the first Eco-Summit in Crawley. At Ifield Community College we are focused on encouraging our students to proactively engage with environmental issues and this was an excellent opportunity for such engagement to take place. All students were passionate and enthused and will hopefully implement some of their new knowledge in our local schools and community.”

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