Edinburgh Airport urged to boost public transport

Edinburgh Airport expects to see significant passenger growth. Picture; Ian Georgeson

Edinburgh Airport expects to see significant passenger growth. Picture; Ian Georgeson

12
Have your say

AIRPORT bosses are being urged to boost public transport links for passengers and make car trips less attractive.

The city council has voiced concern about a planned increase in parking spaces and wants the airport to support new bus services and provide more cycling facilities.

It also suggests charging points for electric vehicles and more ambitious targets for people using public transport to and from the airport.

In its official response to the airport’s masterplan, published at the end of last year, the council warns a proposed increase in freight movements could have an impact on the surrounding road network and adds there is currently no justification for a direct link from the M8 to the airport.

The masterplan, which looks as far ahead as 2050, proposes removal of the “crosswind” runway, paving the way for an enlarged terminal building to serve additional international services, more aircraft parking and cargo storage and a new link road to the Gogar roundabout. It also safeguards land for a possible future 
second runway as a “long-term precaution”.

The masterplan also proposes an unspecified number of additional car-parking spaces on top of the current 7426 on-site and 5290 off-site spaces.

But the council says: “Car-parking targets should not be based on demand forecasts. The masterplan should be setting out ways in which to make car trips to the airport less attractive to suppress demand.”

And it adds that given the significant expected growth in passenger numbers, it is concerned about increased parking and the impact it could have on the road network.

The council notes the current proportion of people travelling to and from the airport by public transport is 32 per cent, with a target of 35 per cent likely to be achieved in 2017.

But it says a recent appraisal of transport in West Edinburgh assumed a 37 per cent public transport share by 2030.

And it adds: “Given the significant changes in public transport availability to the airport, due to the tram and Edinburgh Gateway, the mode share percentages could be more ambitious.

“What incentives and/or support is the airport providing to facilitate bus services into new catchment areas?”

The council says in view of the forecast growth in passenger numbers the masterplan should show additional areas for bus parking and turning and taxi pick up /drop off points.

And it says more emphasis should be given to cycle facilities for both passengers and staff, including improved cycle access, secure cycle parking, lockers and changing facilities.

Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said he had been campaigning for an Airlink bus on the A90 corridor and believed the airport was “very sympathetic to the idea”.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We already have a higher proportion of passengers using public transport than any other airport in the UK outwith London and we are keen to continue to offer more public transport options. We also have electric car chargers and are planning to increase these.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com