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Gatwick launches UK’s first electric car sharing service

The 100% electric vehicles produce zero emissions which supports Gatwick’s carbon neutral status.

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Ten 'Blue City' electric cars on Gatwick's airfield.

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.

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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

Henry Smith MP: Reforming Air Passenger Duty

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about reforming air passenger duty to boost trade.

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One way for MPs to raise issues in Westminster is through All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These Groups typically contain members of the Commons and the Lords, and include parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.

I recently established and was elected to chair a new APPG on Air Passenger Duty Reform, which seeks to encourage the UK Government to cut the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

While the Government confirmed at the October 2018 Budget that short-haul APD rates will not rise for the eighth year in a row, keeping costs down for 80 per cent of passengers, there remains more to be done.

With the Band B long-haul rate scheduled to rise by £16 on 1st April 2019, reforming APD will help the UK compete on a level playing field with our European counterparts, boosting tourism, trade, jobs and growth.

The UK APD rate is the highest tax of its kind in the world. It is twice as high as the next highest, Germany. On long-haul flights it currently adds £78 to an economy ticket.

As we leave the European Union and look to forge a new identity for ourselves in the world as a global nation, it is critical we have a tax system that reflects that ambition.

With Gatwick Airport in the Crawley boundary, a significant reduction in the UK’s APD rate would signal to the world that Britain is open for business.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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