From August taxis will be charged £1 to rank at the Airport
The charge has been agreed by local drivers and airport management, and is in response to the possibility of a major private hire company winning the minicab concession at the airport.
Key points of the agreement are…
- Taxi drivers will be charged £1 every job taken from the rank at the airport
- The charge will not be recoverable via extra meter charges
- Taxis will now be on a ‘business’ footing with London City Airport
- The agreement doesn’t give the taxi trade exclusivity of work from London City Airport and the airport remains free to negotiate with private hire companies
- Because of local problems with minicabs ‘parking up’ in local residential streets, London City can’t rule out the possibility of a Heathrow style Authorised Vehicle Area on or near the airport
City Airport management have said that the part of the charge could be used to improve driver services and support charging points for the new zero emission, or zero emission capable taxis. However, how this will be achieved in reality is unclear because the airport admits that it has no spare capacity in electrical power output. The most likely solution to this would have to be a mobile one. It remains to be seen if mobile charging will be as cost effective for drivers as roadside charging.
London City Airport also has plans to expand, adding a further 32,000 flights by 2025. Because of this, it has been acknowledged that the existing transport infrastructure (Docklands Light Railway and Bus services), will be hard pressed to cope. The nearest Crossrail station will be at Custom House.
Airport management says that they surveyed drivers working the rank via their taxi coordinator, asking how they felt about the charge? Reporting that of the 300 surveyed only 10 objected to the charge. In another survey independent of City Airport management 250 drivers were asked if they agreed with the charge? 50 drivers objected.
There are no plans at present to make the charge transparent to drivers by offering an account of how much is collected and precisely where the money will go.
Management also says that the current airline taxi ‘voucher’ scheme will remain and will also be subject to the £1 charge.
Posted by Peter Rose @peterjrose1