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£5 Black Taxi Heathrow drop-off exemption will ‘fall away’ REGARDLESS of consultation result

Taxi image credit: LEVC

Heathrow Airport will bring in a £5 drop-off fee on 1 November ‘regardless of the outcome’ of a consultation being run by regulators Transport for London (TfL) on the topic, says Heathrow Airport spokesperson.

The airport recently pushed back on plans to charge London taxi drivers a £5 fee for dropping off passengers at its terminal forecourts. A £5 charge per visit will apply to all other vehicles, but licensed taxis will be exempt until April 2022.

The ‘Terminal Drop Off Charge’ will apply to all vehicles entering the forecourts of Heathrow’s terminals, although licensed taxis have joined an exception list that includes blue badge holders, emergency vehicles, operational vehicles, coaches, colleague buses and motorcycles.

London regulators TfL are now set to conduct a public consultation, the results of which could see a change to the black cab meter tariff as the passenger could have to pay the £5 fee rather than the taxi driver.

Regardless of the outcome of the consultation Heathrow Airport plan to push the charge on to the fully wheelchair accessible black cab industry.

Tony Caccavone, Surface Access Director at Heathrow Airport, spoke at the LPHCA Road Show event, saying: “It’s worth highlighting the reasons we are exempting the black taxi trade for that short period of time is very much to allow Transport for London to put in place their consultation in terms of changing the taxi meter.

“As an airport we have not got that ability or control over it, and there is a regulatory process that Transport for London have to go through and the earliest that could play out is 1 April. So regardless of the outcome of the consultation the exemption for black taxis will fall away on 1 April.”

There were also concerns put to the Heathrow official over possible ongoing price hikes to the new fee. The new charge was introduced to cover some of the losses experienced by the airport due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Heathrow official could not guarantee there would not be any future price rises, saying: “What I can’t do and what I’m not going to do is be able to give you a guarantee that the £5 is going to stay forever, but what I can do is say the last thing we want to do is increase it in such a way that it deters passengers.”


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