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Good news for Gatwick passengers who need an International Driving Permit

With the post offices near the airport now offering the service, passengers will not have to travel far from the airport.

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The Post Office has announced that from today (1st February 2019) around 2,500 Post Office branches across the UK can provide International Driving Permits to UK travellers intending to drive abroad.

There are three versions of International Driving Permits, each supported by a different convention, which cover over 100 countries around the world, with the documents costing £5.50 each.

Previously, 89 Post Office branches offered International Driving Permits for countries which are parties to the 1926 and 1949 conventions; but from today, the service will be extended to offer all three permits, which includes countries now under the 1968 Vienna Convention.

In addition to the 89 Post Office branches, the 1926 and 1949 permits were previously also provided by the AA and the RAC through the post or at the AA shop in Folkestone. From 1st February these organisations will no longer provide International Driving Permits. Instead the Post Office will issue all driving permits on DVLA’s behalf, from 2,500 branches.

Customers can check which permit they require for the country they wish to drive in by checking our website: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit.

The expansion means that these 2,500 branches can offer a one stop shop for customers intending to travel abroad; they are able to pick up their Driving Permit for countries ranging from A – Z (Albania all the way to Zimbabwe), collect their travel money, and also find out more about travel insurance too.

Martin Edwards, Managing Director of Identity Services at the Post Office, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to extend the number of Post Office branches offering international driving permits to 2,500. Millions of travellers already visit our branches each year to access our range of travel services, including travel money, travel insurance and digital passport applications. It means we’re well placed and resourced to extend the availability of these documents, offering even greater convenience to our customers, who will now be able to pop into a branch to also pick up their International Driving Permit.”

The 2,500 Post Office branches now offering all three driving permits are spread across the UK, with some located in or near UK travel hubs – this includes the Post Offices located near to airports, such as London Gatwick, Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow International, along with branches near to St Pancras International and ferry ports around the country.

London’s Canary Wharf branch is one of those now offering the service. Postmaster Subash Patel said:

“We are really pleased to be able to now offer all three International Driving Permits to our customers. Our branch serves lots of people who are making preparations to travel, both for work and pleasure, and it’s great that we can be their one stop travel shop, where they can come in and get all the important things they need for their trip, including travel money, travel insurance, and of course their all-important driving permit.”

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said:

“International Driving Permits will be on sale for drivers across the country at Post Office branches.

“The Government’s priority remains to secure an agreement with the EU that means UK driving licences continue to be recognised.

“But the wide availability of IDPs now through Post Offices should give reassurance to UK motorists that they can continue to drive in the EU, whatever the outcome of Brexit.”

The 1968 International Driving Permit covers countries such as South Africa, Vietnam and Kenya, all of which feature in the Post Office Travel Money’s 10th annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2018. The countries are highlighted as three of the top 12 best value for money long-haul holiday destinations in the report, which monitors the price of eight tourist items – comprising dinner for two with wine, a range of drinks, suncream and insect repellent.

International Driving Permits are not currently required for UK drivers who decide to drive within the EU. This could change dependent on developments around Brexit negotiations, and if so, the relevant permits would be available at the same 2,500 Post Office branches.

Gatwick

Gatwick Airport Station could double in size as £150m upgrade announced

Tens of millions of rail passengers travelling to and from Gatwick Airport will benefit from improved accessibility and swifter journeys, after the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a £150 million scheme to upgrade the station.

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The renovation will reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion, while also improving passenger experience by providing easier connections to other destinations.

Planned upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“With 46m people now using Gatwick Airport every year and 20m coming by train, it is vital that we make the station more accessible and customer friendly for those travelling through it. The UK’s second largest airport has direct rail links to more than 120 destinations and is an important public transport hub.

“We want to see Gatwick Airport’s success continue to flourish and ensure that it is ready for even more passengers in the future. Through this £150 million investment, we will deliver vital upgrades to boost the station’s capacity and provide better, seamless journeys for all.”

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said:

“Gatwick has been transformed in recent years and the redesigned train station will take the airport’s redevelopment to the next level by providing a seamless transition between the airport and the station, more lifts, escalators and a doubling in the size of the concourse.

“The new station will complement the huge improvements to rail services at the airport, which include new fleets of Gatwick Express and Thameslink trains and services that now leave the airport for London every three minutes – as frequently as services on the tube.

“The project is a fantastic example of the public and private sector working together to deliver a world-class transport hub that will comfortably manage the expected growth in air passengers and also encourage people to switch to rail as part of our push to get more people to travel to the airport by public transport.” 

The number of people using Gatwick Airport station each year has grown by six million since 2010. Currently the station is not designed for the high volume of daily passengers, often carrying bulky luggage.

The renovation will be managed by Network Rail, in partnership with DfT. Gatwick Airport Ltd and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership are co-funding the project with £37m and £10m respectively.

Paul Harwood, Director of Investment for Network Rail, said:

“The transformational enhancement to Gatwick Airport station will provide passengers with a much smoother and more pleasant experience and also reduce train delays.

“Along with the recent improvements on the Brighton Main Line and our record £4.3 billion funding settlement for maintaining, operating and renewing the railway over the next five years, this investment is excellent news for passengers, businesses and the economy.”

Patrick Verwer, Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“This much-needed scheme will deliver real benefits for passengers thanks to enhanced platforms, new lifts and a larger concourse. At such a busy station these upgraded facilities will significantly contribute to the smooth running of our services for travellers getting to and from the airport.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:  

“If our economy is to grow, we need a transport network that supports faster, more reliable, and less polluting journeys for business, leisure and freight travel. Gatwick airport is an international destination and its station is a gateway to London and the wider Coast to Capital area.

“This plan will greatly improve the interchange for commuters, visitors and business which will support the sustainable growth of the area with Gatwick airport at its heart.

“We are delighted to have contributed £10 million and look forward to working with partners to deliver a better experience for passengers.”

The improvement works will start in Spring 2020 and will take around two years to complete. The works will be sequenced to ensure minimum disruption.

The government is investing a record £48bn to modernise the country’s rail network and deliver significant improvements in performance, punctuality and capacity.

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