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'Impossible' airport parking rule leaves Aussie drivers fuming

Charges have been introduced to reduce congestion in the express zone at Perth Airport but drivers remain stuck in traffic.

The introduction of a new parking rule at a major Aussie airport has drivers angry they only have six minutes to pick up or drop off their passengers before they are charged a fee.

The change came into effect on March 11 for drivers using the express zone at terminal three and four at Perth Airport, with the time limit introduced to reduce "significant congestion" and stop drivers using the express parking option for the "wrong reason".

"We're encouraging everyone to use the forecourt as its intended — as that quick kiss and drop, or quick pick-up destination," Kate Holsgrove, Chief Aviation Officer at Perth Airport told ABC Radio Perth.

Left, passengers wait in the parking zone with suitcase at Perth Airport. Right, the airport parking rule leaves drivers with only six minutes free time in the express zone, with traffic building up during peak hours.
The new parking rule gives drivers only six minutes in the express zone before they cop a fee at Perth Airport. Source: Reddit

Number plate recognition is used as drivers enter and exit the zone, with any leaving after six minutes blocked by a boom gate. Fees differ depending on how long drivers overstay, with those leaving only a few minutes after the time limit copping a $7 charge. Those who do not exceed the time limit can leave free of charge.


There are alternative parking options available, including short and long-term car parks, and these are being encouraged if drivers intend to park and leave their car, rather than just travel through the drop-off and pick-up lanes. The new rule at terminals three and four follows the system that has been in place for the express zone at terminal two since 2019.

Dashcam shows airport drop-off chaos

Drivers have called the six-minute time limit into question as congestion is still rife in the zone during peak hours and people are stuck despite their best efforts to leave quickly.

On Tuesday, one driver recorded his journey through the express zone using his dashcam which showed the long queue of traffic he was stuck in. He arrived at the boom arm at the exit just after six minutes, so it didn't open for him as he had exceeded the time limit.

"They are charging people for overstaying when you spend the majority of the time stuck in traffic. I flat out refused and told them to open up the gate. Do not pay people!" he said online.

Perth Airport accused of 'cash grab'

Others chimed in and said they had experienced something similar, calling the parking change a "blatant cash grab" and "impossible" to adhere to during peak hours.

"I managed, on Sunday afternoon around 3pm, to get through in under 4 minutes because there was no one there, no traffic at all," the driver said. "Six minutes, especially during the week, is simply not enough time to enter, drop off and exit the pickup/drop off zone."

Another driver said they have already saw "dangerous driving" by people desperately trying to get out within the time limit. "Someone is going to get hurt!"

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Yahoo Australia