Manchester Airport, Manchester City Council and the region’s police forces are tackling inconsiderate and illegal parking near the hub.
Following recent reports of poor practice by some unofficial parking firms operating near the airport, Cheshire Constabulary launched Operation Cicero in June, to identify wrongdoings and take enforcement action where appropriate.
Rogue firms have previously caused problems in the Wythenshawe area, leaving vehicles for long periods of time on residential streets, despite claiming they would be stored securely.
With the airport now entering what is likely to be its busiest month since 2019, travellers are being urged to do due diligence on firms offering parking services before making a booking, and partner organisations including local authorities and police are primed to deal with any uptick in unscrupulous activity.
The airport is also taking action to combat congestion caused by the increased number of taxis and private hire vehicles travelling to and from the airport at the height of the summer season.
Manchester Airport operates a dedicated Private Hire waiting area for drivers to use between jobs, so that there is no need for vehicles to wait in neighbouring residential areas. The airport has responded to increasing passenger numbers by halving the cost of this waiting area during the school summer holidays, meaning taxi drivers can wait for up to three hours with just a £1 contribution to the facility’s upkeep.
Private hire firms are being contacted directly by the airport with details of how they can take advantage of this scheme during the summer holidays. The airport will consider renewing the scheme over subsequent busy periods if it proves successful.
Chris Woodroofe, managing director at Manchester Airport, said: “We understand that for taxi drivers, particularly those based some distance from the airport, it makes financial sense to wait in the area for a return fare rather than to make the return journey without a passenger.
“However, when a high number of private hire vehicles wait in neighbouring residential areas, it can create congestion and increase the risk of inconsiderate or illegal parking.
“That is why we have introduced this scheme for the summer holiday period, which we expect will alleviate pressure on street parking capacity in areas such as Wythenshawe and Woodhouse Park, by providing an affordable alternative for commercial drivers who need to remain in the area for extended periods.
“Meanwhile, we continue to take the issue of rogue meet and greet firms very seriously. In addition to our own official parking, there are a number of reliable and reputable third-party providers located near the airport and we would always urge passengers to do their research before handing over their keys.
Park Mark scheme
“We encourage customers to use initiatives such as Park Mark and the government-backed Buy with Confidence scheme to find a provider that has undergone a series of detailed checks and is committed to trading fairly,” Woodroofe added.
Park Mark is a police crime prevention initiative designed to tackle crime in parking facilities, with over 5,000 accredited car parks in the UK, while Buy With Confidence is a government scheme listing providers vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way. The airport, Manchester City Council and police bosses are urging passengers to use these schemes when selecting which company to use.
Councillor Leigh-Ann Igbon, executive member for vibrant neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, said: “The airport is one of the pillars of the region’s economy and it is positive to see its recovery following COVID-19. But for some local residents, the impact of inconsiderate parking has been significant.
“I’m glad to see that Manchester Airports Group is taking steps to alleviate this during one of the busiest periods of the year.
“As ever the Council would recommend anyone leaving their car at the airport when they fly use reputable businesses and not fall prey to rogue operators. The Buy with Confidence Scheme is the best and easiest way to ensure your car is safe when you are on holiday.”