Bases in U.K. do away with vehicle-pass requirement
June 8, 2008
Motorists entering bases in England no longer have to present a separate pass for their cars.
The move came after 3rd Air Force in the United Kingdom successfully petitioned U.S. Air Forces in Europe to use a guideline similar to one adopted in the States in October 2007 that allows vehicles not registered with the military to enter bases without a decal as long the driver is an ID cardholder.
The change — which began last week — only affects U.K. installations, which had been the only USAFE bases that required incoming motorists to show both military IDs and vehicle passes, said Master Sgt. Corey Clements, spokesman for U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
Air Force personnel and their dependents still must register their vehicles at the U.K. bases where they are assigned for tag and tax purposes. But drivers can now access bases in unregistered vehicles — such as borrowed or rented cars — mirroring procedures at the other USAFE locations.
"We’ve already received good feedback from people out there who have one less card to carry around," said Maj. John Haynes, 3rd Air Force spokesman. "It seems to increase convenience without compromising security."
The measure allows security forces who guard the gates to focus their efforts on the individuals trying to enter bases not necessarily their vehicles, Haynes said.
The elimination of the pink vehicles passes is part of an overhaul of several driving-related procedures in the U.K.
Military drivers will soon be issued a driving fuel permit that will replace the USAFE driver’s licenses and the blue fuel cards used to buy gas on base.
The paper coupons used by drivers to buy tax-free gas off base will also be replaced with a separate fuel card. Unlike in some other countries, drivers in the U.K. are only authorized to buy gas off base for duty-related purposes.
The 48th Fighter Wing, 100th Refueling Wing and 501st Combat Support Wing will determine when and how the new driving fuel permits will be disseminated this summer, Haynes said.
Meanwhile, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is finalizing details about how the new off-base fuel card system will work in the U.K. and looking for a contractor to administer the program, said AAFES spokesman Lt. Col. David Konop.
AAFES is expected to announce its plan in the coming weeks, he said.