London City Airport (LCA) has revealed that due to expansion it plans to introduce a ‘feeder park’ type taxi rank at the airport and introduce a charge for taxi drivers that want to work there.
A fee of around £3.00 has been mooted by the management with the suggestion that drivers could reclaim the money via their passengers through the ‘extras’ button on the meter.
The management of LCA say they have looked at the Heathrow model and are sure that it will work for London City as well. Unlike Heathrow, LCA intend to keep the private hire booking desk that is situated inside the terminal.
London City Airport is growing in popularity; recent results showed that 328,115 passengers flew through the airport in July, a 25 per cent increase on the same period in 2012 and 12,600 more than the previous record, set in May this year.
What next for the taxi trade?
London City Airport and its passengers have since it opened enjoyed excellent service from the London taxi trade, a service that has been delivered free of charge to the airport. The move comes at a time when the Government via its Law Commission review are seeking to change the way the whole taxi and private hire trades work right across Britain. Under the review airports like LCA would be able to look at the possibility of doing away with the hackney carriage trade completely and opt for a an exclusive private hire arrangement instead. Stansted, Gatwick, Cardiff, and many other UK airports already operate this way. To add further worry to the taxi trade Transport for London in its response to Law Commission proposals see nothing wrong with airports applying extra conditions on taxis and drivers that work London’s airports.
Unite Cab Section has always opposed taxi drivers being charged for work, pointing out that drivers have already paid for the right to work via their licensing fees. Unite says taxis should have free and open access to the public.
At a meeting with City Airport management yesterday (Friday 6th September) UNITE repeated this position, which was supported by the LTDA.