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Heathrow Airport taxi drop-off charges: A persistent problem for cab drivers at Terminal 3

London Taxi drivers continue to face challenges with Heathrow Airport's Terminal Drop-Off Charge (TDOC), according to Suzanne Sullivan, Airport Representative for the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA).

Despite being over two years since the introduction of the five-pound fee, issues persist, especially concerning inter-terminal transfers.

Drivers who are part of the Taxi Feeder Park system and engaged in inter-terminal jobs should be exempt from this fee. However, faults in the system lead to some drivers being incorrectly charged. Many LTDA members have reported being erroneously charged despite their participation in the auto-pay system, with refunds often requiring manual intervention and communication with the airport authorities.

Particularly troubling are the incidents at Terminal 3, where drivers are issued a £40 parking charge notice by APCOA. These notices are often a result of the system mistakenly registering a taxi as making a drop-off when it is merely passing by en route to pick up at another terminal. In these instances, the blame is often misattribated to the agents responsible for vehicle registration entry, although system errors are a more likely cause. Sullivan herself has experienced such an error, highlighting the ongoing issues with the airport's administrative processes.

Repeatedly raised concerns have yet to prompt a satisfactory response or solution from Heathrow Airport, leaving taxi drivers with additional administrative burdens.

Sullivan said in TAXI Newspaper: “It’s now been over two years since London Taxi drivers had to pay the Terminal Drop-Off Charge (TDOC) at Heathrow Airport, yet we are still having issues with inter-terminal jobs and drivers being charged the five-pound fee incorrectly.

“Drivers are exempt from Heathrow’s Terminal Drop-Off Charge if they are in the Taxi Feeder Park system and on an inter-terminal job, but the system doesn’t always work. We have many members who are on auto pay and who find that £5 has been taken when they are in the system. This should automatically be refunded, but we are increasingly having to write to refunds to claim their money back.

“Terminal 3 is also still a big problem. A driver gets sent to Terminal 3 from the Feeder Park, only to receive a parking charge notice a few weeks later from APCOA for £40. Their taxi gets recorded passing by the drop-off on the way to T3 and it assumes it is dropping off.

“Often the agent on the Terminal gets the blame for not entering the correct Vehicle Registration Number when a driver is on

an inter-terminal job. This isn’t always the case, it’s more likely to be a problem in the system. I have tested it and received a PCN myself, where the agent got the blame in my appeal reply but I had been sent from the Feeder Park, so the agent wasn’t actually involved.

“I have brought up this issue, time and time again, yet we are no closer to resolving the problem and it seems Heathrow are no closer to giving us any answers.

“We have been successful in our appeals where this is the case, but it’s a lot of what should be unnecessary work for us and worry for the drivers.”


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