Improving access to Victoria's aviation gateway
Jul 03, 2013
Melbourne Airport is making further improvements to the operations of its terminal forecourt to provide better access for the growing number of passengers travelling through Victoria’s aviation gateway.
Around 30,000 vehicles use the terminal forecourt area every day to drop-off or pick-up passengers travelling through Melbourne Airport. This includes private vehicles, taxis, hire cars, public bus services, off-airport shuttles and tour coaches.
“The terminal forecourt is one of the most keenly contested and heavily congested areas around the airport, particularly in peak travel periods. It’s vital that we manage the traffic flow through this area of the airport as efficiently as possible for the benefit of all airport users,” Melbourne Airport CEO Chris Woodruff said.
“Our ground transport operations must also comply with Commonwealth regulations and the particular security requirements for a major international airport.”
The introduction of Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) technology from 1 August 2013 will assist in the management of traffic and introduce fairer and more equitable pricing for commercial operators of ground transport services, including off-airport shuttles and bus services.
Time-based fees have been standardised across all bus service types and are designed to encourage the most efficient use of the limited forecourt resource. Buses also have a free waiting area on Melrose Drive which can be used before coming into the forecourt area to pick up their passengers.
There are currently 55 different bus or shuttle services licenced to operate from the forecourt, ranging from vehicles that collect a handful of passengers each trip through to large coaches picking up sporting teams or tour groups.
The LPR technology will also help ensure that vehicles use the correct lanes, promoting better traffic flow in the forecourt.
Buses will no longer be permitted to use the elevated departures level to drop passengers off, with all drop-off and pick-up of passengers to occur in the dedicated bus zones in the middle lane of the forecourt.
Relocating bus services from the elevated departures level will provide more kerbside access for private vehicles, taxis and hire cars to drop off departing passengers and should lead to better traffic flow, particularly in peak periods.
These changes have been informed by a detailed investigation by Melbourne airport into bus operations in the terminal forecourt and consultation with bus operators.
Melbourne Airport is planning for increasing demand for access to the terminal forecourt as the number of passengers travelling through the airport is forecast to grow by around 4 per cent per annum over the next 20 years. The number of passenger trips through Melbourne Airport has more than doubled from 14.2 million to 29.1 million over the last 15 years.
Actions taken, or planned, to improve forecourt access include:
- Completion of the forecourt upgrade project, providing two new traffic lanes and providing an additional 26 public pick-up bays to enable free passenger collection (in addition to the free ‘Ring & Ride’ waiting zone);
- Realignment of traffic lanes and bus zones to provide better separation of different vehicle types;
- Relocation of buses from elevated departures level to ground level to provide more curbside access for private vehicles and taxis and improve traffic flow;
- Widening Terminal Drive to provide two new lanes to enable better access to the departures and arrivals level, including a bus lane (under construction);
- Introduction of a new landside security contractor to deliver improved levels of customer service, traffic management and landside security services;
- Relocation of PTV bus services to a new stop location outside T1, including the 901 Smartbus, providing more convenient access for passengers to public transport services.
Mr Woodruff said Melbourne Airport would investigate whether the LPR technology could be utilised to support a future ‘short fare’ system for taxis if this was supported by the industry. There will be further discussion with industry stakeholders on this issue.