Getting to Heathrow from the south

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Last week, Val Shawcross was declared the new Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum. One of the first things that she called for was that Heathrow makes serious efforts to reduce the environmental impact of passengers and workforce travelling to and from the airport.

Links from London and the east to Heathrow are fine. But from the south?

A day or so later, she supported the proposed “pollution charge” on drivers. Any driver who parks or drops off a passenger will have to pay a levy if their vehicle fails to meet the same minimum-emissions standards as those planed for central London This will affect any diesel cars made before September 2015 and petrol cars that go back to 2005.

What she could also usefully do to reduce the number of vehicles is to promote a viable public transport system to get from the south of the airport.

In the airports own plan published in January 2018 it said that it took 103 minutes to get to Heathrow from Guildford by public transport. To drive, it took just under three-quarters of an hour. Just 9% of Heathrow passengers from Guildford used public transport. What a surprise that must have ben to the airport!

Any one coming from the Guildford – Leatherhead – Reigate –Sevenoaks area and below a line linking those towns is largely stuck because public transport links to Heathrow are lousy at best and non-existent at worst.

Yet four million passengers come from the southern counties

Many years ago a private coach operator tried to establish a Cobham-Heathrow link but met with no success. Part of the reason was timetabling, part was the service being largely unknown and part was public apathy.

If Ms Shawcross and the airport is serious it should set up its own coach service to get passengers to the airport in a reasonable time compared to the 103 minutes it established in its report years ago. Just to raise that 9% level of people using public transport to the average of 39% would considerably reduce the number of vehicles adding to pollution around Heathrow and the M25.

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