On Wednesday 12th of August I travelled to Gatwick by train (London Bridge to Gatwick) mid-morning to see the Park First Car Parks with John Slater and to view all competitors to see what traffic was going through to have a better understanding on when we should scale up our operation and bring staff back from Furlough.
The train was very quiet and only 3 people got off at Gatwick which didn’t bode well.
However, our main operational Car Park at Cophall was busy (est at 25%) with arrivals and departures whilst I was on site.
Visiting competing sites confirmed there was more activity than I expected to see particularly on the 2 Meet & Greet sites which were 95%+ full.
My conclusion is that traction is better than expected and that consumers are reducing contact wherever possible and driving and using Meet and Greet in preference to Park & Ride or the Train from Central London.
Park First should now look to commence a controlled return to work from Furlough and should also consider Meet & Greet services although I appreciate that at 7 miles from the Terminal this isn’t exactly optimum.
I discussed alternative sources of income with John Slater and site staff and it was apparent that they have the same goals and continually work to find new opportunities to enhance income.
It is clear to me that some capital expenditure should be made to cosmetically improve the look of the offering at Cophall as it looks tired against competition.
Gatwick still had only one terminal in operation (North) which obviously will continue to restrict demand.