DROP-OFF charges at Edinburgh Airport are set to triple to £3 for a ten-minute stay, the Evening News can reveal.
A shake-up of the controversial fees – dubbed a “kiss and fly tax” – will mean drivers are forced to pay at least £3 if they take longer than five minutes to deliver passengers to the terminal.
Under the current system, the airport charges £1 for waiting ten minutes and £5 thereafter.
But, from Monday, a new pricing structure will see motorists charged £1 for five minutes, £3 for ten minutes and £5 after that.
The move has frustrated taxi drivers and prompted concerns that elderly and infirm travellers – who may be slower and less mobile – will be hardest hit by the fees that were branded “outrageous” when first introduced four years ago.
Cabbies have also warned the extra cost could discourage them from accepting airport fares.
But airport bosses insist only a small number of passengers would be affected by the adjustment that is designed to reduce congestion.
Tony Kenmuir, director of Central Taxis, said older people and the disabled – particularly wheelchair users – would end up paying more.
“Very few vehicles are likely to make it through this process in less than five minutes in our opinion,” he said.
“We would strongly object on the grounds that it can take several minutes to drop off due to queues. Traffic has to wait at a pedestrian crossings after paying the entrance fee.
“That’s a recipe for the average drop-off fee increasing.”
He added: “It means elderly passengers will be penalised for the extra time it takes them to disembark a vehicle, and for many journeys it would not be economically viable for taxis to drop people off at the airport.”
Disabled drivers holding a blue badge will be unaffected by the changes and will continue to be able to use the drop-off zone for up to ten minutes for free.
Fees at the new pick-up area, which start at £2.90 for 15 minutes, will remain unchanged.
Passengers can also use a free drop-off area further from the terminal building which is served by a shuttle bus.
Lothians MSP Gavin Brown said it would be “unfair” to charge elderly and disabled people more because they “might take just a bit longer”.
Airport chiefs stressed that 87 per cent of passengers spent less than five minutes in the drop-off area, according to a study last month, with an average waiting time of just three-and-a-half minutes.
Richard Townsend, head of retail and property at the airport, said: “These changes are necessary to make sure that, as our airport continues to grow, we offer our customers a convenient, efficient pick-up and drop-off experience. A free drop-off zone will still be available but the one million vehicles which use the drop-off area on a yearly basis show that people still want to use this facility.”