Transport woes risk putting the brakes on business growth in the Gatwick Diamond
26 April 2016
The business-led economic partnership, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative (GDI), is calling for the infrastructure investment needed to address the concerns of businesses who say that transport bottlenecks are hampering their growth.
The Gatwick Diamond Initiative’s quarterly Business Barometer Survey is used to assess the overall mood of the business community, in particular economic confidence and challenges, as well as views on strategic issues and implications for growth.
Transport infrastructure was the theme of the most recent GDI Business Barometer. Around half of all businesses surveyed said that local transport and travel problems are having a significant negative impact on their business, with traffic congestion and unreliable journey times causing the biggest difficulties. In many cases, businesses are struggling to recruit and retain staff because of shortcomings in the local transport infrastructure. Lack of on-site parking is also a significant issue.
According to the survey, for businesses in the Gatwick Diamond, travel to work is still dominated by the car. Fewer than half of businesses surveyed offer any incentives to staff to take alternative (non-car) forms of transport to work. The general feeling is that there are few viable alternatives. In particular, public transport options as well as local walking and cycling routes in the Gatwick Diamond do not offer a realistic alternative to the car. One business summed up: “What we really need is better and more connected public transport options for local businesses, and the provision of real-time bus and rail information to encourage and enable our employees to leave the car at home.”
Jeff Alexander, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative says: “We continue to work closely with partners to encourage the much-needed on going investment in the area’s transport infrastructure including better access through public transport, cycling and walking. Investment is vital if our businesses are to grow and compete on a global stage.”