Heathrow Airport should think ‘long and hard about what putting the squeeze on black cabs means for the prestige of their airport’ says London taxi driver representatives.
According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) other less busy airports have tried and failed to replace licensed taxis with Private Hire operators, with ‘disastrous results’.
The comments come as taxi drivers ranking up at London’s Heathrow Airport are set to face rank entrance fees nearly THREE TIMES more than current prices.
Fully wheelchair accessible licensed black cabs offering their services at one of the world’s biggest airports will have to pay over £10 to join the ‘Feeder Park’ rank at Heathrow from 1 July.
The plans mean taxi drivers could be forced to pay £10.00, a huge £6.40 rise from the current £3.60 paid by drivers.
The rationale behind the mammoth increase points squarely at the huge drop in passenger numbers passing through Heathrow Airport during the pandemic. It is understood that the airport wishes to recover the £1.4million lost over the pandemic over a two year period.
Sam Houston, LTDA Senior Rep, said in TAXI Newspaper: “Heathrow airport has long been an important and prestigious part of our business as a whole. Many passengers entering the UK want to use London’s world-famous black cabs for their onward travel. They want the convenience of just walking up to the rank and being driven away immediately, and the reassurance of knowing they will get to their destination safely and with a regulated fare.
“HAL (Heathrow Airport Limited) should think long and hard about what putting the squeeze on black cabs means for the prestige of their airport. Other, far less busy airports have tried and failed to replace licensed taxis with shambolic PH outfits, with disastrous results.
“When things come on top with weather, cancellations or IT failures, there is only one service with the expertise to move large volumes of people efficiently and safely: London’s licensed taxis. Heathrow should give drivers a break in this most desperate of times, instead of ‘punching down.’”