Transport Chaos at East Midlands Airport
By John Flynn
It was heart-rending to see the recent pictures in the Nottingham Post of those poor intending air travellers trudging along the side of the A453 in the rain, pulling their luggage along as they tried to reach the airport. No holidaymakers or intending air travellers should have to endure this. It is a desperately sad way to start your holiday.
Separately, and concurrently, there is an ongoing struggle for taxi drivers, and other car drivers, trying to access the airport using the drop-off point. The problem here is that vehicle drivers are being charged £2 for every 5 minutes, and then an additional £1 for every minute over the first 5 minutes. It soon adds up to a crippling parking charge.
All of these problems are made worse by the additional vehicles and visitors attending the Download Festival, or other events, at Donington Park.
There is of course an obvious remedy for these problems. That remedy is the extension of the Nottingham Tram from its present Clifton terminus to East Midlands Airport, a relatively short distance (for a tram) of about 10 miles, which is not through a built-up area.
Many would say that the Tram service to Clifton is currently under-used, despite the presence of a Park and Ride facility at Clifton. An extension of the Tram to the Airport would drastically alter this situation.
East Midlands Airport has about 4 million passengers each year, and an extension to the Airport would allow the Tram to service at least some of these passengers. The Airport is the second largest freight airport in the UK, and already supports about 6,000 job opportunities. The extension of the Tram to the Airport would open up job opportunities for the people of Clifton and the rest of Nottingham.
If there is a reluctance to make the investment in the infrastructure, it would be possible to construct, on a minimum cost basis, a basic tramway laid from the present terminus at Clifton to the Airport, with the initial service provided by one tram operating a shuttle service backwards and forwards from Clifton to the Airport.
Perhaps this approach is the only way to prove the viability of the project and to get it up and running.