Edinburgh Airport is doubling its drop-off charges in the hope of easing persistent congestion issues experienced by drivers in the vicinity.
The controversial price hike will come into force on November 8 and see drivers forking out £2 for five minutes and £4 for up to ten minutes – a rise of £1 – while parking for up to 20 minutes will soar from £5 to £10.
Motorists can only access the airport along Eastfield Road, which is already operating at capacity with forecasters estimating that the road will be at 121 per cent capacity by next summer.
Tony Kenmuir, chairman of Central Taxis, said: “We have between 600 to 700 drop-offs at Edinburgh Airport on a daily basis. The amount of money taken from our taxi drivers is obscene.
“We’re powerless to it. We are prisoners because the public has a choice, we have no choice. If we refuse a customer who calls up then we will lose business.
“This price rise is going to cost our drivers hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. It’s got to the point where enough is enough.”
Airport chiefs estimate the new charges will make £1 million each year. They also expect it will reduce the number of cars using the access road by 480,000 with hopes it will encourage passengers to use public transport.
But Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said the changes would directly affect many of his constituents who do not have direct public transport links to the airport.
He said: “This increase will impact on my constituents in western Edinburgh because they are likely to be collecting friends and family from the airport.
“I agree with the airport in encouraging people to use public transport, however that presupposes adequate public transport links to the airport.
“This news will come as a surprise to many and is bad news for my constituents living in Cramond and South Queensferry, for example, who have no direct link to the airport. I would like the airport to use the revenue to subsidise extra transport links.”
Edinburgh Airport contentiously began charging for every car and taxi to drop passengers off outside the terminal in 2010.
Meanwhile drivers at Glasgow Airport face charges of £2 for up to ten minutes, £4 for 15 minutes and £10 for 20 minutes.
The revenue will go towards the £10 million project to build a second access route to the airport, possibly from Gogar. Plans are set to be discussed at December’s city council housing and economy committee.
Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive, Gordon Dewar, said: “We’re committed to giving passengers the very best travel experience and this includes their access to and from the airport.
“Our proposals for a new access road, which we anticipate funding the majority of, will go a long way towards easing the current congestion problems passengers face, and the consequent environmental impact. I appreciate the increase will not be welcome news for all but I’m sure most will realise the need for action to combat the congestion we currently experience.
“We are committed to working with the council and other partners to ensure that existing and new infrastructure is fit for purpose and will continue to make informed decisions to alleviate congestion now and in the coming months leading up to the peak summer period.”