AN Edinburgh car park which charges irate parkers nearly £1 for just five minutes is one of the most expensive in Britain.
The cost of parking at the airport short stay has just been hiked to a colossal £2.90 for a 15-minute stay, making it the most expensive in Scotland, and comparable with London City and Luton airports.
Disgruntled taxi owners and drivers have branded the cost a rip-off but airport bosses appear nonplussed, saying people who don’t like it can use public transport instead.
This month’s increases have triggered outrage amongst some of the city’s taxi operators, which will be hit hardest by the hike and said the extra fees would have to be passed on to passengers.
Central Taxis director Tony Kenmuir said: “They told us they thought that was a fair market rate compared to other car parks, but they are the most expensive by miles outside of London.”
Drivers picking up or dropping off loved ones at Scotland’s busiest airport are charged £2.90 for the first 15 minutes under a price rise that came into effect on November 1.
A wait of between 15 minutes and half an hour leaps to £4.70. It is the second jump in parking fees in less than 12 months. The cost of a 15-minute stop climbed from £2.20 to £2.50 in December last year.
Only London City and Luton airports charge more for short-term parking in the UK, with up to 15 minutes costing £6 and £3.80 at the two transport hubs respectively.
Scotland’s next busiest airport, Glasgow, is also cheaper than Edinburgh, charging £2 for parking for up to 20 minutes and £4.50 for up to an hour.
Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir is on the drivers’ side. He said: “I wouldn’t like to see people penalised because of high charges. It’s up to the airport to work out the commercial rate that’s appropriate, but I have a degree of sympathy for the people that have to go and drop others off.”
Airport chiefs have defended the parking rates, pointing out drivers are encouraged to use the £1 drop-off facility where they can.
However, the special drop-off rate soars to £5 if motorists over-shoot their ten-minute stay. Owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) also confirmed the sky-high fee is helping fund the £25 million expansion of the airport’s terminal that started last month. The company also owns London Gatwick, but only charges £1 for short-stay parking for up to 15 minutes at the south-eastern airport.
An airport spokesman said they “only have a finite amount of car parking spaces available”. He added: “Our £1 drop-off facility remains unchanged and is popular with people who are coming into the airport for a short time.
“We also offer a free drop-off service in our long stay car park. Alternatively there are a number of public transport options available, including the Airlink 100 service from Lothian Buses which offers convenient connections to destinations across Scotland.”