17 July 2014

APCOA secures Park Mark® award at Luton Airport

When you're looking to book airport parking, it's always advisable to book with a company that has gained ParkMark status for its car park.

APCOA Parking (UK) Limited has just announced it has secured the coveted Park Mark® Safer Parking Award for its official airport car parks at London Luton Airport.

The Safer Parking Scheme is an initiative of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime in parking areas.

Managed by the British Parking Association (BPA), the Safer Parking Scheme, awards the Park Mark® to facilities that have measures in place to create a safe environment.

Police Accredited Assessors undertake a site specific risk assessment. They assess the management and maintenance of the facility and check that there are appropriate levels of surveillance, lighting, signage and cleanliness, thereby reducing the opportunity for crime.

Peter Gravells, Park Mark® Scheme Area Manager, says, “We are delighted that APCOA has achieved the Park Mark® Award, it means it is delivering a safer environment for those using the car parks at London Luton. It is a fantastic achievement and testament to the effective management and high car parking standards maintained by the company.”

There are currently 5000 car parks with the Park Mark® Award throughout the UK.

10 July 2014

Belfast Airport parking company ordered to cease trading

A long-running battle between Karl Airport Parking and Belfast International Airport looks like it is finally coming to an end.

Karl Airport Parking’s 1,200-space car park in Old Ballyrobin Road in Mucka-more has been ordered to close by 31 August 2014.

In May 2013, the Planning Appeals Commission ordered Karl to cease trading, but the company appealed the decision and the cease trading order was quashed. However, a fresh appeal has resulted in the order to close at the end of the peak season.

For more information on the long-running issues between Karl and Belfast International check out the Irish News.

08 July 2014

New car park for Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport is to get a new 300-space short-stay car park after airport bosses decided to reintroduce passenger drop offs outside the main terminal building.

The change was reintroduced last Thursday, 3 July, however, it’s not all good news as drivers will still need to pay £2 to use the Express Set Down Zone. The old Express Set Down Zone, which was located beneath the airport’s main forecourt will be converted into a 300-space short-stay car park.

A new forecourt layout will be zoned using electronic signage to guide drivers to the next available space to ease traffic flow will be introduced on 16 July.

The introduction of Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology will mean that a ticketless system will operate with eight exit lanes taking cash and card payment.

03 July 2014

Which? tests airport valet parking

Research by Which? magazine has highlighted the problems of booking with some airport meet and greet parking companies.

Following complaints received from some users, Which? decided to test three meet and greet parking companies at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports.

Three Which? cars were fitted with GPS trackers and were tracked over a period of six days. Their findings were disappointing:
  • Meteor Meet and Greet at Stansted drove the car at nearly 100mph immediately after leaving the terminal
  • iPark Airport Parking at Heathrow was recorded driving at close to 90mph 
  • RS09 in Gatwick parked the Which? car in a car park on an industrial estate. 
At Gatwick Airport moves have been made to address the poor standards of some meet and greet parking companies by the introduction of the airport’s Approved Operator Scheme.

Gatwick advises that passengers should only book parking with one of their approved operators – a list of which can be found here: http://www.gatwickairport.com/parking/other-parking-options/Operator-Scheme/

02 July 2014

West Sussex Trading Standards warns about meet and greet parking

Always read the small print when booking meet and greet parking, that’s the advice from West Sussex Trading Standards (WSTS) after it received complaints from holidaymakers.

Complaints included excess mileage added to a car’s odometer and thefts from cars. The advice coming from Trading Standards includes:
  • Check the company websites and make sure you know who you are dealing with. Legally, companies need to provide their name and address details on websites. If contact address details are missing, be extra cautious and consider booking with a different provider. 
 
  • If the cost of the booking is more than £100, consider paying with a credit card as this will give you extra protection should things go wrong.
 
  • Most reputable companies will complete paperwork highlighting any damage to the vehicle at the time you drop it off. Trading Standards advise customers to take pictures of all 4 sides of their vehicle when they drop it off to help avoid any disputes regarding damage to your vehicle when you return from holiday. 
 
  • The majority of meet and greet companies will have parking facilities which are relatively close to the airport. Make a note of the mileage reading on your car when you drop it off, that way you will know whether or not it has been driven further than you expected. 
 
  • Lastly, do not leave any valuables or money in your vehicle whilst you are on your travels. 
The main advice from WSTS is to use the official airport car parking facilities or use a 'meet and greet' service that is 'Buy With Confidence' trading standards approved business.

West Sussex Trading Standards operates the Buy With Confidence scheme (BWC), a trade approval scheme, where all members are vetted and approved by the service. In relation to meet and greet companies, BWC means that their parking compounds have been checked and are all secure.

To find Gatwick meet and greet parking companies that hold the Buy With Confidence accreditation click on the link.

Or look for Gatwick Approved Operators.

25 June 2014

Robot Ray - the future of airport parking?

Imagine just driving up to the airport and instead of parking your car or handing the keys over to a meet and greet driver, you leave your car with a robot.

Sounds like science fiction?

No it’s not, it’s actually happening at Düsseldorf Airport. Robot Ray is a parking system that claims to be able to park 60% more cars in an area than that of a human being.

How does it work?

Robot Ray scoops up a vehicle using a fork under each wheel and then transports it to a parking slot selected by Ray’s software, based on the car’s dimensions. Robot Ray has four wheels that can turn a full 360-degrees, allowing it to manoeuvre into extremely tight spaces.

02 June 2014

Watch this video before booking your meet and greet

About to book meet and greet parking at Gatwick? Don't, not until after you've watched this video. It could save you a lot of time, money and hassle:


29 May 2014

Save bundles of time with meet and greet parking

I know meet and greet parking is convenient, in fact, it's probably the most convenient type of airport parking there is.

I guess I've always known it saves time, but I, like many, probably don't really think about the parking in terms of how much time I save.

It's more about avoiding the hassle of jumping on a shuttle bus between the car park and the airport, however, even I've been surprised by the of the amount of time it can save.

Gatwick meet and greet parking company Help Me Park recently conducted research into the amount of time required for the different parking options at Gatwick.

Take a look, I'm sure you'll be surprised and maybe consider time as well as price next time you book your parking:


Meet and Greet
Park and Ride
Long Stay
Transfer time from car park to airport
None – car collected from outside the terminal
Transfer time 10 – 15 minutes
Transfers operate every 20 minutes
5 minutes
Transfers operate every 10 minutes
Transfer time from airport to car park
None – car returned to outside the terminal
Transfer time 10 – 15 minutes
Transfers operate every 20 minutes
5 minutes
Transfers operate every 10 minutes
Maximum time spent on transfers
None
1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes
30 minutes

Help Me Park is one of only eight Gatwick Approved Operators - the only meet and greet parking companies permitted to collect and return cars to the airport’s forecourts.

21 May 2014

EPS Gatwick fined for false claims

A Gatwick valet parking company has hit headlines this week after it was found guilty of false claims about its business, including claiming it was a Gatwick Approved Operator and was a member of West Sussex County Council’s Buy with Confidence scheme.

EPS Parking was found guilty of breaching the Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 last Friday, 16 May, and fined £10,000 plus costs of £2,683, which were awarded to West Sussex County Council.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “I hope this sends a clear message that we will always act against people who claim to be part of the Buy With Confidence scheme who aren’t.

“The scheme exists precisely to protect people against this sort of underhand action and I am pleased that the magistrates on Friday saw fit to issue such a large fine.

“We would always encourage people to check the Buy With Confidence scheme to source reputable traders in the knowledge they have already been checked and vetted by us.”

A list of Gatwick Approved Operators 

Gatwick parking companies holding ParkMark status

19 May 2014

BBC Watchdog and why you need Gatwick Approved Operators for your meet and greet

If every you needed a reminder to use a Gatwick Approved Operator for meet and greet parking at Gatwick Airport, it's this programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01z38r2

BBC's Watchdog programme highlights problems with non-approved Gold Parking at Gatwick. Problems include 1,500 miles extra on the clock, parking fines and a stolen Mercedes - stolen from the company's "secure" car park!

Watchdog conducted three test parking bookings, none of the cars used were parked in a secure car park, in fact, only one was parked in a car park, and this was far from secure.

Take a look at the programme here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01z38r2