One particularly frustrating aspect of flying from Luton Airport is the fact that anyone arriving by train must get on a connecting shuttle bus to the terminal building.
Even worse, the shuttle bus isn’t free unless your train ticket is to ‘Luton Airport’. Anyone with a ticket to ‘Luton Parkway Station’ needs to pay an additional £2.40 one-way.
Council-owned Luton Rising, which owns the airport, finally realised this was a problem. In 2016 it announced it was building an automated people-mover to shuttle passengers from the train station to the terminal. Called Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit), it was supposed to open in 2021.
That didn’t happen, of course. It was delayed to this year and has now been delayed again, with an expected opening sometime in ‘early 2023’. Whilst the track and stations are built, it appears that the testing phase is causing the delay.
King Charles was already booked in, however. The council pushed ahead with his visit on Tuesday regardless as you can see from the photos here.
The King also unveiled a plaque at the Luton DART Central Terminal station commemorating his visit which you will be able to see …. at some point …. in 2023, or whenever.
TNU’s Sharon Ross joined the royal party for the three-minute ride to the top and told me that it is smoothly impressive although the physical connections to the Luton Parkway Station are not yet complete.
The media who attended the event were told that the opening date would be announced in the New Year, and that there would be 10 weeks advance notice. This means, realistically, that there is little chance of it being operational before Easter.