Who thinks paying a £15 Heathrow "congestion charge" would be popular?

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Chutzpahflyer 10 Aug 2017
at 22:34

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)

  • PhilipHart


    Yes. People should be encouraged to use public transport where it exists. Those who want to use their cars can cough up a few pounds extra.

    I’m all for it (spoken as one who uses LHR and other airports frequently, sometimes by car and sometimes by public transport.)


    …and who would the money go to?

    The motorist at Heathrow is already suffering from the highest parking charges, drop of and pick up zones being coned off as unusable, fines for being caught collecting a passenger outside the terminal and newly created congestion in the car parks by mini cabs and ubers congregating in one area to collect passengers.

    The fast public transport connections are expensive and limited to central London. Jumping on a number 7 bus with luggage & a 40 minute journey to get to a suitable train station is not the answer. I do think more and more people living in London are using public transport to get to Heathrow, but for people coming from outside London, efficient public transport options are non existent. If Heathrow had a train station with direct links to other parts of the country, besides London, then that would create options.

    I think a congestion charge for using Heathrow would be unfair and unwarranted.


    Yes, I failed to add that the money should go towards improving access to the airport by public transport as links are either poor, expensive, or both.

    HEX is pretty useless unless you want to go to West London. The tube is dire, overcrowded, slow, and with inadequate luggage spaces, and Heathrow Connect is clumsy specially if you need to get to T4 or T5. If ever an airport had disjointed transport, it’s LHR.

    When I use Heathrow I usually travel to/from Weybridge which is very close but the transport links are so poor that I tend use a taxi or Uber. I sometimes go to/from Beaconsfield where the A40 bus is a useful option. I reckon if I go by car I’m saving a taxi/Uber fare so I’d happily pay the £15 if, and it’s probably a massive if, it were going towards improvements in the infrastructure.


    I guess the answer must be – the majority of those going by car – no it would not be popular
    and the majority going by public transport would be indifferent to it!

    I try to avoid LHR for arriving but do use it leaving London, when my preferred means of transport is the Piccadilly line.
    However I don’t think a £15 surcharge would solve anything, it would just go into the pockets of the airport operators, since I believe the cost of any rail extensions etc are down to the government and therefore the taxpayer.

    I think it’s almost impossible to improve the transport links and access to Heathrow because of the way it’s been built, much better would be a brand new airport outside London, such as Boris suggested, and turn LHR into a new town creating many thousands of new homes and businesses.


    Typical double talk by Howard Davies…….
    And classic neo-conservative thinking, fine to deter rather than reward to encourage.

    I’ll simplify this. All airport management seem to struggle with a very simple concept.
    People who travel, tend to have luggage, so logic dictates that the car is the easiest option, consequentially airports struggle with vehicle congestion.
    Like LHR, EDI is struggling, the access road is poor, the traffic is increasing, and something needs to be done.
    Like LHR, EDI’s simplistic approach is to levy charges at a rate that discourages all cars, including taxi’s from the airport.

    Yet, their response, like LHR doesn’t include cheap public transport links. And in fact, quite the opposite. If you’re using one of our wonderful new trams, guess what? You have to pay a substantial supplement for the last sector that goes to the terminal.
    So if your a family, what’s the incentive for leaving the car and hoping on our shiny new trams? Diddly Squat!!

    So, the only conclusion that can be reached, at both EDI and LHR is that they’re simply wanting their cake and eating it.


    Thing is, for me to use public transport as opposed to my car means several changes of public transport from my North London home – if it was fast, with minimal changes then I would agree, but for many it is neither & with bags that is just too much of a fag.


    One of the reasons I favour LGW over LHR is that it’s properly connected by rail to plenty of other places, something which the LHR planners forgot to consider. I often go to or from Brighton or Guildford, both have direct services, and from Guildford I can easily and quickly get to Weybridge. There are through services to north of the river offering connections to the Midlands and further, and to Reading for the west.


    On the very few occasions I have used the train to get to LHR from my UK home in Lincs its an average 4.5 hour journey from my local train station, down to Kings cross and then slogging across london, and about £200 rtn. if I use a private hire its about £300 there and back. If I take my car it is approx 2.5 hour drive and just over £200 including 20 day parking. Adding another £15 wont make me switch to the train, just more money to BAA or whoever, and we all know that would not go into improving access.


    Fundamental issue is that too many people travel by car to/from Heathrow. In part this is because the public transport options other than to central London are pretty poor.

    Then along comes plans to expand the airport – generating arouynd 175,000 additional passenger and staff trips per day – and if nothing changes most will go by car, with hideous consequences for road congestion and air quality in west London. That’s why Heathrow has stated an aspiration for no increase in highway trips with a third runway – but it is little more than warm words in the absence of any proposal which might credibly deliver that.

    The Airports Commission work found a charge of £20-40 (on cars and taxis) would be needed to secure no increase – and TfL’s analysis has found it needs to be at least as much. And it would need to be accompanied by significant public transport investment to give people the choice of decent alternatives. Yet there is currently no commitment from Heathrow Airport or from Government for any public transport schemes to support expansion, they merely rely on what’s already committed to meet background (non-airport) growth.

    I’m with LuganoPirate on this – if it is impossible to make the surface access for an expanded Heathrow work, maybe we should be looking at other alternatives.



    Years ago l was stopped on route from Weybridge to LHR where l worked for years. They wanted to know if there was a direct public transport route from Weybridge to LHR, would l use it? Replied, of course and have waited now over 20 years for that to materialise. For a couple of years we had that bus route co funded by Abelio and Surrey County Council direct to T5, but since ceased. You have to now change bus at Staines station. 1 hr plus journey, but it worked. Plus a round the houses bus from Walton to T2/3. Fine for one pax, but if 1 plus, take an über. But then we are back to cars on roads again.
    My thoughts are they won’t bother with public transport improvements from Surrey, as people will just pay up for the convenience of car usage.


    paularoyston : Yes, that would have been the infamous 555. I arrived back from CPT very early one morning and having time to kill so as not to turn up while evryone was still asleep, decided to take it to Walton-on-Thames. It stopped at every lamppost on the way, and it probably only took about 90 minutes but it seemed like a week.

    Again, it bears out what I and others have said, that public transport links to LHR are a disgrace and are part of the problem when they should be part of the solution.


    I very rarely use LHR mainly because of the hassle of travelling there from Staffordshire, when I do driving is the only reasonable option, albeit this does involve using the M40. Public transport from north of Oxford is, as stevescoots says, so time consuming and awkward to use, for me BHX is so much easier to get to and from.

    Interesting that when the idea of HS2 was first aired it was to have a stop at LHR, but this was soon dropped in favour of a direct line to Birmingham, imo a missed opportunity. The current HS2 route includes a stop for NEC/BHX, much to the delight of BHX who are expecting to gain extra business from London based travellers as the travel time from Central London will be similar to Piccadilly line to LHR, always assuming HS2 goes ahead.

    For the few times that I do use LHR the £15.00 probably will not make a lot of difference.


    One of the deciding factors in how I get to Heathrow is whether or not I have a lot of luggage.

    > Short business trip, hand luggage – public transport is possible, not too expensive, slightly slow but equally, usually reliable.
    > Longer trip on my own, hold luggage – road-based transport (car, taxi, minicab) is preferable.
    > With family, children, multiple bags, etc – road-based transport is essential.

    So, what effect would the £15 charge have on these three? On the business trips, long or short, it makes no difference (someone else pays, and I am often on a train or tube anyway). On the family trip, when divided by 5 is is not worth fussing about.

    No-one likes paying more money for anything. But two things are always missing from discussions about the add-on charges for air travel, whether levied by the airports or the airlines. Firstly, neither airports nor airlines make egregious profits, and they do have to charge enough to cover costs and reasonable returns. How else should this be done. And secondly, if £15 causes you grief, should you actually be flying at all? Compared to the overall cost of a holiday, is it really significant?

    Here is an idea: why not charge everyone (yes everyone) £15 extra – include it in the ticket price as an airport charge – and then have a very widely advertised campaign that “if you can show a bus or rail ticket when you get to Heathrow we will refund you £15 on the spot”. As Canucklad said, and I agree entirely, it is so much better to reward to encourage rather than fine to deter.


    There is a lot of merit in the above idea but I think that it would be unwieldy and difficult to administer for several reasons.

    There are already a number of taxes, APD, PFC, and so on.
    There is already too much queuing at airports without adding yet another time-consuming obstacle.
    The cost of operating the refund process would dilute the revenue obtained as it would have to come from the charge paid by others.
    I can see loopholes, for example somebody uses a discarded bus or train ticket to obtain a refund.

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