Edinburgh Airport calls police over taxi drivers fare battle

Airport chiefs have called in the police to crack down on cabbies who flout the rules.

Saturday, 18th June 2016, 11:33 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:44 pm
Taxis at Edinburgh Airport

Concerns have been raised over drivers who pick up fares in the drop-off zone – which is banned under the terminal’s byelaws.

City Cabs is the official taxi provider for the airport, which allows the firm’s drivers to park close to the main terminal.

One driver told the Evening News that rival firms were regularly “poaching” customers before they reached the designated rank in the multi-storey car park.

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Airport bosses said they were working with police – as well as car park operators and the city council – to clamp down on those who breach the rules.

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It is understood that the council’s licensing board will be writing to the drivers.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We’re aware that there is an issue with taxis picking up in our drop-off zone. This is not allowed under airport byelaws and we’re working with our car park operators Empark, Police Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council Licensing Board to deal with it.

“Our taxi operators are aware of this issue and support us as we try to ensure our drop-off area is safe, efficient and used for its proper purpose.”

The City Cabs driver, who did not wish to be named, said the problem began when the layout of the airport was changed in April to deal with an increase in passenger numbers.

He said: “There is major unrest between the official airport taxi companies, which are being charged £2.90 by the airport for each pick-up, and the rest of Edinburgh cabs who are coming into the airport to steal customers from under our noses.

“It is soul-destroying watching other taxis touting, dropping people off and getting fares straight away while we wait for up to two hours [in the designated rank] not making any money. And some drivers are coming in empty and trying to steal customers.

“I’m at the end of my tether. They are taking cash out of our pockets.”

However, Les McVay, company secretary at City Cabs, downplayed the extent of the problem and insisted the firm’s deal with the airport was a “success story”.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh Western, urged airport chiefs to do everything in their power to help the official drivers with whom they have a “commercial arrangement”.

He said: “Some people will chance their arm and I absolutely support Edinburgh Airport for cracking down on this practice.

“Our black cabs have been suffering since Uber was introduced in Edinburgh and this is another problem that hard-working taxi drivers have to deal with. Black cabs are a vital part of our transport infrastructure.”

Recent figures show the airport enjoyed its busiest-ever May with more than 1.1 million passengers.