Over the last 25 years, London City Airport (LCA), the only London Airport actually in London, has received an excellent service from the licensed Taxi trade at no cost. But management of the Airport have announced, they now intent to start a charging system similar to the one currently in use at Heathrow.
There are plans for a Taxi rank fed by a feeder park, where drivers will by charged upon entry.
The £3 charge to the drivers, should be reclaimable from the passenger by means of the extras section on the meter, similar to charges made to Heathrow passengers.
Drivers who work the City Airport are concerned that this may not be the case and they will be used as a revenue source. One driver we spoke to said:
"It's not the same as Heathrow where the jobs are much longer. The drivers out west don't seem to have any complaints soaking up their portion of the charge."
At present the charge at Heathrow is £5.22 with £3.20 reclaimable from the passenger. Local jobs are allowed back on the rank at no cost. But with the City airport, longer journeys are rare and unless the whole amount is reclaimable drivers may not accept these new measures with the possibility of militant action being taken.
The decision of course, lies with TfL and any extras charged to the passenger would have to be included in the fare rise consultation for 2014.
If this is handled with fairness, logic and common sense, something we've seen little of at TfL, it could be a good thing for the regulars at LCA, as yellow badges from other areas can be seen most days without IDs displayed. Badge and bill checks on entry to feeder as drivers purchase credits, could stop this practise overnight.
However,there is a major problem with this system.
LCA intend to keep the private booking desk situated inside the terminal. The PH company display a list of fares which portray their service as cheaper than Licensed Taxis. If LCA introduce a surcharge that is passed on to the passenger, it could be argued that they would be able to artificially inflating the price in the favour of their PH partners who pay the management rent for their booking facilities.
London City Airport is expanding rapidly, reaching their one millionth flight last year. This years statistics show a 25% growth in passenger numbers passing through the terminal.
THIS COMMENT TAKEN FROM THE CAB TRADE NEWS BLOG.
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.