Sunday, 24 April 2016

Exeter Airport Experience [2]

Car Parking Costs Plenty!
fbb was struggling with the correct way of collecting Mrs fbb's friend Jean from Exeter Airport.

Complete booking form above or telephone: 0345 303 7397
On the day of travel drive to the car park
The barrier system will recognise your car registration
When the barrier lifts, please enter and park
Use the barrier call button if any difficulties are experienced
Passengers may wish to walk to the terminal if close to the entrance
However, Car Parks 3 and 4 are served by the shuttle bus
Use the bus shelter call button to request pick-up from the car park
When returning to Exeter the car park shuttle bus

     will depart from the front of the terminal
Use the Car Park 1 call button if any difficulties are experienced

fbb said that airports are scary. The above is the simple (?) introduction to parking. Google also has a separate parking web site. Actually there are over 100 links that purport to sell you a parking places at the airport.

Trying the first site on this extensive and baffling list was just as scary as everything else.
fbb should have read the whole page, but in his panic and inexperience, decided to fill in the form that appeared on the screen. (dates shown are one week later than reality)
The cheapest quote in response to the form was ...
... £23 with a massive on-line discount of £1.01 which seemed a bit steep for picking up of setting down the honoured Scottish guest. But that what what the quote was!

Airports really are scary.

Fortunately, after a sniff of the smelling salts, fbb read further down the page. Spot the appropriate answer.
Parking is free in P4 for a whole ten minutes; OK for a quick drop-off, but not realistic for pick up. Perhaps planes are never late - chortle chortle? P4 is half a mile from the terminal but the shuttle (mini)bus is free.
But, hooray, P1 offers a £1 minimum fee; but for how long? Elsewhere (if you are lucky enough to find it) it explains out that this allows 30 minutes parking. But what happens then? Does the fee leap to £20. Nowhere does it tell you.

Which is why fbb was lurking in the Tractor Spares company offices in the misguided belief that it was a motel.
Pick-up was thus effected for the minimum charge of £1. The system, again, was utterly baffling. At the entrance to the parking "lot" you take a ticket and on exit you pay. fbb had his pound coin ready, all to no availa as he had to use a debit card. For £1 purchase! Those queuing behind were not the most pleased as fbb grappled with this.

But collection was effected and fbb was for-warned for drop off last Thursday.

Whilst two elderly ladies toddled off to share in fond farewells ("Haste Ye Back", as they are wont to say north of Hadrian's wall) ...
... your brave blogger set off to investigate further and (risking arrest and deportation to the Antipodes) take a few furtive pictures. And you can pay with money! Another facility hidden from internet enquirers.
Fees for all four parking areas are displayed (but after you have parked in one of them!) and the prices for "more than 30 minutes" were graduated, thus taking significant more off you if the plane was late.
Somehow that seems unjust! Certainly it makes a cheap flight not.

To add to the bafflement there is a big "thing" at the pedestrian exit to P1 offering what seems to be cheaper prices for a long term stay.
How you get the price down to £6 a day is another mystery. Stay for six months, perhaps? Never mind, the company (APCOA) has won awards.
You might be wondering what the acronym APCOA means.

APCOA Parking AG is Europe's longest-established full service parking management company. It manages over 860,000 parking spaces across 15 countries, and employs approximately 4,500 people. It is headquartered at Stuttgart Airport in Germany.

So it is obvious, isn't it. APCOA means, or more correctly used to mean, the Airport Parking Company Of America. Seemples!

Of course you could go by bus. For the fbbs and/or guest Jeasn this would have involved a 52A from Seaton to Exeter and a service 56 thence to the airport ...
... where Devon Council (who subsidise the service) display full and accurate timetables.
But it would take two hours and fortyfive minutes! The car journey was 38 minutes.
The airport is the "egg" top centre

The 56 combines a standard route out of Exeter, a quick nip into the airport and a rural route from terminal via Woodbury Salterton to Exmouth.

It runs hourly Monday to Saturday with some horrific oddities at peak times.
The 1625 and 1740 departures from Exeter perform a loop-the-loop and call at the airport on the way back to the city, taking one hour for the journey instead of an off-peal trip of just 30 minutes.
The bus stop flag offers a mysterious 60B and, as you might expect, there is a non-working (un)real time display at the shelter.
The positive note, however, is sounder at Exeter St Davids railway station where the 56 is announced on the platform and displayed on the departure screens. Such integrated initiatives do not extend to the National Rail journey planner ...
... but are shown correctly on "national" Traveline.
Perhaps when fbb next visits Exeter Airport he will be better prepared and less scared.

One exciting possibility emanated from Jean's visit. She and her hubby David have a second home on Rousay.
Now that would be a trip and a half. Axminster to London, sleeper to Inverness, bus or train to Thurso or Giils Bay or John o' Groats, ferry bus and ferry to Rousay.

It is on the list!

Mundanely, we next look at Doncaster and a sort of capitulation in Rotherham.

 Next "partnership" blog : Monday 25th April 


  1. Andrew Kleissner24 April 2016 at 07:53

    I just made a comment on yesterday's blog - by mistake!

  2. Thanks Andrew. You are quite right (re yesterdays comment), information is available. I write as I find and the angst caused by this problem was very real.

    Rather than clutter and twiddle, it would be helpful if web sites were designed to prioritise the information people will need.

    The Exeter Airport site doesn't!

    Even departures and arrivals are subservient to advertising.

  3. Through rail tickets *are* possible - it is in the PlusBus zone.

  4. I "love" those a la tesco long term parking charges, all with the final 9. They certainly have no desire to make it easy for cash customers.

    When will "no change given" be displayed.

    Who owns Exeter Airport?

    1. Rigby Group which also owns Coventry Airport, according to Wikipaedia.