An ambitious multi-million pound project to create the UK’s first ‘members only’ clubhouse for professional drivers has been unveiled.
Forecast to launch at the end of 2014, the venue will be close to Heathrow Airport and be open to members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Provisionally known as the Professional Drivers’ Club, it will provide a facility where members can meet, eat, sleep and exercise in a relaxed and comfortable environment. It will also be a convenient base for vehicle services such as filling up with fuel and MoT work.
Membership will be open to anyone who drives professionally and carries passengers, including black cabs, minicabs, chauffeurs and other taxi services.
It’s the brainchild of Jon Jordan, founder of the Institute of Professional Drivers and Chauffeurs (IoPDC) and has been two years in development. Jon has worked in the industry for more than 20 years and believes his ‘designed by drivers for drivers’ approach means the venture will be a success.
He commented: “I see a genuine gap in the market for an industry hub of this sort. Drivers will be able to relax in safety and comfort, but also to network, find out about job opportunities and keep up to date with industry news.”
Should the Club prove a success, Jon sees it the first of many across Britain and Ireland, all situated in urban hubs.
There are more than a billion journeys carried out by 340,000 licensed drivers each year in the UK, generating almost £8 billion for the economy.
Approximately 80,000 passengers departing from or landing into Heathrow’s terminals every day arrive by licensed taxis and other private hire vehicles. It means thousands of drivers are in the airport’s environs, some multiple times. Many will come and go but others will be waiting several hours for later bookings.
The Professional Drivers’ Club is designed to cater for their needs. The 2.5-acre site will be in a prime location currently occupied by a disused office block, which is scheduled for demolition later this year. The site is less than 10 minutes drive from all five airport terminals.
The Club will consist of a new building with up to five levels, plus a multi-storey car park allowing 600 members to be on site at any one time. Additional services will include:
- Fuel filling station
- Hand car wash
- MoT and tyre station with up to six ramps
- Eating facilities for up to 200 members
- Recreational area with seating up for up 250 members
- Gym and games room
- Toilet and shower facilities
- Individual ‘sleeper pods’ for up to 150 members
- Individual ‘office pods’ with internet access
- Multiple monitors showing live airport arrivals
- Rooftop garden/smoking area
- Display area for car manufacturers to promote new vehicles
- Membership information centre with jobs board
- Conference facilities
Jon commented: “Evidence from various medical organisations has shown professional drivers suffer from poor health because of the long hours spent in their vehicles. Prevalent conditions include diabetes, obesity and sleep apnea, while dehydration is also common because a lack of toilets means drivers don’t drink enough fluids.”
In addition, the Club will solve the problem of where drivers park and wait for later bookings. Friction with residents in local communities such as Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington, Hayes, Uxbridge and Stanwell has been a growing problem for many years.
Annual membership of the Professional Drivers’ Club will be exceptional value for money, working out at less than a cup of coffee per day.
Source: Professional Driver's Club