'Rip off' rise of pick-up charges at Edinburgh Airport blasted by drivers

Airport officials branded as 'bandits' by furious travellers who have also set up a petition.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 3:16 pm

Drivers and travellers have slammed a rise in the cost to pick-up passengers from Edinburgh Airport as a petition calling for a reduction in the charges.

The cost of picking-up passengers from the airport rose by £1 to £5 on Tuesday making it the most expensive airport in the country and sparking a furious reaction.

A petition, now signed by more than 2,500 people, branded the move a "flagrant abuse of power" and called on government intervention to end the charges.

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Edinburgh Airport has been criticised over new parking charges

Edinburgh Airport said the increase is the first since December 2017 and is intended to reduce congestion by incentivising the use of public transport.

'Treating the general public as a cash cow'

Robert Finlayson, the founder of the petition, said: "Edinburgh airport is milking the captive market of those picking up and dropping off at their Airport.

"With the latest round of price increases a 30 second pickup at Edinburgh airport now adds £5 to the cost of a trip.

The price has risen from 4 to 5 to pick up passengers (Photo: Contributed)

"Whilst they take great pains to point out that there are free alternatives available they are neither nearby or practical for most passengers.

"It's a flagrant abuse of power and nothing more than treating the general public as a cash cow to line a private company's bottom line,

"We ask that the pickup/drop off zone operators NPC and Edinburgh Airport who hold overall control to stop ripping people off with ridiculous charges and we call on Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government to step in and hold these bandits to account."

'It's outrageous'

One Edinburgh private hire driver, Stephen Paget, said the move was "outrageous".

The 39-year-old from Leith said: "It's outrageous. As far as I can see, it makes Edinburgh airport short stay/pickup zone the most expensive in the UK per minute.

"I'm a private hire driver, mostly, doing jobs to and from the airport and these rising costs have a massive impact on myself and other drivers, as well as the general public.

"Often, a meet and greet at the airport can take upwards of 45 minutes. That means having to pay £12 or £18 in parking charges, which is just ridiculous.

"The parking facilities on offer are terrible as well. Not enough spaces and the spaces they have are too small, which often means vehicles taking up two spaces.

"The car park is so congested at times, that it can sometimes take 15 minutes just to find a space and head into the terminal. By that point you've already incurred £9 in parking charges.

"In the past we would try to absorb as much of these costs as possible, but that's simply not sustainable. That means passing extra costs onto the general public and visitors to Edinburgh.

"The airport has free pickup and drop off zones, but they are completely impractical."

First rise since 2017, Airport says

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said it was the first increase in pick-up fares since December 2017, and signage is in place to let people know of the changes.

He said: “Problems with congestion in and around the airport are well known and we have to proactively combat that and persuade people to leave the car at home and use public transport where possible.

"Planned investment in a new access road will also go towards alleviating that problem further and we hope to have planning permission early next year.

“We appreciate that not everyone will be able to use alternative methods of transport which is why we have trebled the free time available in our Long Stay Car Park and continue to provide a free drop off zone for those who still need to bring their car to the airport.”

Price rises

In 2014, the cost of picking up passengers at Edinburgh Airport was £2.90, meaning the cost has almost doubled in five years.

Two years previously the cost to pick-up loved ones was just £2.20, meaning the price has risen by 127 per cent in seven years.

Drop-off fees have also doubled from £1 to £2 since the £1 fare was introduced in 2010 with every rise met with fierce opposition.