‘Goodwood Festival of Speed entry queues have put me off going again'

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks anything that makes life too hard - or too expensive - for drivers will result in people going elsewhere

Opinion - Goodwood FoS

Cars are the most wonderful things, giving us freedom and fun, taking us to fantastic places we might not otherwise get to, and places where we’ll spend money, providing a much-needed boost to the economy.

Yet more and more it seems there are people and businesses just making life hard for car drivers, whether that’s a low-emissions zone that’s going to cause financial pain to those who can afford it least or, as an RAC report revealed this week, airport drop-off charges increasing by almost a third over the past year.

This week, I listened to a debate on BBC Radio 5 Live (while on my four-and-a-half-hour, 73-mile journey to the Goodwood Festival of Speed – more on that in a bit) where an environmental campaigner was singing the praises of these airport “kiss and fly” charges.

I’m lucky. I live a 25-minute drive from London’s Heathrow airport. If I drop someone off – even if I’m in a zero-emissions EV – I have to pay a £5 charge. Okay, let’s try public transport. From my house, that’ll take at least one hour 45 minutes and cost more than £5. There is a free drop-off option – via the long-stay car park – but that takes much longer than driving straight to the terminal, which is not ideal on an early-morning flight. It all means I don’t want to use airports with drop-off charges.

I’m not averse to a bit of a walk – I park as far away from shop entrances as I can to avoid parking dings, then enjoy the stroll. But if a retailer insists I have to pay money to park in its car park, I’ll just choose another retailer.

Which brings me to Goodwood and the fabulous Festival of Speed. Sadly, it’s not so fabulous when you’re in queues of traffic for hours – it’s like a cold pool on a hot day: lovely once you’re in. But for me – and many others I spoke to in another queue to get our pre-booked tickets – the queues have put me off going again. If life is too difficult for car drivers – or too expensive – we’ll just go elsewhere or not go at all. And that’s not good for business.

Do you agree with Steve? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

Web producer

Pete has over 20 years journalistic experience. Having previously worked for Ladbrokes and the Racing Post, he switched from sports writing to automotive journalism when joining Auto Express in 2015.

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