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New taxi drivers wonder if access to Heathrow Airport taxi rank will ever materialise says rep

The wait goes on for cabbies looking to gain access to the capital’s biggest taxi rank located at Heathrow Airport prompting many drivers to think it will never happen says one taxi representative.

Heathrow Airport is home to London’s biggest rank, with up to 500 cabs able to ‘put on’ at any one time. Taxi drivers wishing to service the airport are required to register themselves with the airport in return for a device called a ‘tag’ that allows access to the feeder park to the airport ranks.

In 2019 London Heathrow announced a ‘one in, one out’ policy for new taxi drivers wanting to obtain access tags to the airport’s ranks.

The current policy means that new drivers are only able to join the Heathrow taxi rank and receive a tag device when an existing driver closes their account at Heathrow.

Since then, drivers entering the taxi industry must be placed on a waiting list and hope for drivers to hand back tag devices to allow new or willing cabbies the opportunity to work the Heathrow airport. There is also a growing waiting list of drivers looking to replace broken or faulty tag devices that no-longer work properly.

Many cabbies prior to 2019 held a Heathrow tag when no limits were imposed on the off chance that they might work Heathrow.

On their first visit to the feeder park they would register themselves onto the system in the ‘cab-in’ located at the rear of the North feeder park. All that was required was their ‘bill & badge’ and £10 to cover the cost of the device.

Sam Houston, LTDA Senior Representative, said in TAXI Newspaper: “The shortage of tags at Heathrow Airport has reached the point where many drivers no longer believe they will ever be delivered. Personally, I’m not quite at that point yet, but I’m getting there. With this in mind, the question we are now asking the airport is what if? What, if no tags ever come? What then will Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) do to allow cab drivers into the airport?

“Since the chaos of early summer, HAL has facilitated private hire provision by opening the AVA car park 24 hours a day. A deal appears to have been reached between WeKnow, who operate desks at arrivals halls, and Uber, with prominent advertising now on show. Add to this the laissez-faire attitude to private hire picking up in the drop-off zones, and contrast it with the seemingly deliberate reduction in the number of cab drivers able to pick up at Heathrow, and the difference is striking. This leaves licensed taxi drivers yet again, feeling that HAL is, at best, ambivalent about our presence at the nation’s biggest airport.

“In other more positive news, HAL has recently announced the end of the cap on passenger numbers, which should be good for everyone. Let’s hope the demand keeps up throughout the winter and people haven’t been put off travelling by some of the difficulties experienced earlier in the year.”


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