Heathrow Airport have 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 according to airport officials.
The ‘Terminal Drop Off Charge’ will apply to all vehicles entering the forecourts of Heathrow’s terminals, although licensed taxis have now joined an exception list that includes blue badge holders, emergency vehicles, operational vehicles, coaches, colleague buses and motorcycles.
The new charge is being brought in to improve air quality and reduce congestion.
The terminal drop-off charge will replace previous plans to introduce a Heathrow Ultra-Low Emissions Zone by 2022 and a Heathrow Vehicle Access Charge ahead of the opening of the third runway, which would have incurred a £10-£15 charge.
London regulators Transport for London (TfL) are now set to conduct a public consultation which could push through change to the black cab meter tariff. Changes could now include the option of the passenger paying the £5 fee rather than the taxi driver.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “As initially proposed last year, Heathrow will be introducing a Terminal Drop-Off Charge across all terminal forecourts from autumn 2021. Black Cabs will be exempt from the charge until April 2022, in order to allow for TfL to conduct a public consultation and for any adjustment to meter charges to be made in accordance with statutory requirements.
"The registration process for this exemption will be shared ahead of the scheme’s launch. From 1st April 2022, once the consultation has concluded, passengers in Black Cabs will also be charged £5 per drop-off, even if the meter charge is agreed at a different amount.”