Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Taxi drivers ranking up at London’s Heathrow Airport are set to face rank entrance fees lower than first expected, but still DOUBLE what they currently pay.
Fully wheelchair accessible licensed black cabs offering their services at one of the world’s biggest airports will have to pay £7.20 to join the ‘Feeder Park’ rank at Heathrow from 1 July. The increase will be passed onto passengers, meaning struggling cabbies will have to cover the extra costs.
Heathrow Airport first informed taxi trade reps the increase would be an eye watering £10. However, after much pressure and lobbying from the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), they have now agreed to reduce the planned increase.
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.
Since the increase was first announced the LTDA has been working to put pressure on the airport to force a rethink. Taxi representatives were keen to spread the recovery over five years, which would have kept the fee at a lower, more manageable level.
Last week, ahead of the planned increase, trade reps sent a joint letter, with a final suggestion that Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) consider a smaller increase to £7.20, instead of almost trebling the fee to £10, which after further pressure from MPs and others, has now been accepted.
A number of MPs also signed an Early Day Motion tabled in Parliament criticising Heathrow and asking them to reconsider.
A spokesperson from the LTDA told members there was further work involving Transport for London (TfL) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In a message to members they said: “Along with other trade reps, we also met several times with the CAA and various Heathrow representatives to push them to be more transparent about the costs associated with running the Feeder Park and to find a fair and workable way forward.
“The CAA has written to Heathrow a number of times on the matter a a result. We also encouraged the TfL Taxi and Private Hire team to write urging Heathrow to reconsider and explaining that drivers could not pass the increase onto passengers (as HAL kept arguing), as it would require a time consuming consultation process. We had to chase this letter on a near daily basis but it was eventually sent last week.”