Taxi drivers don"t HAVE to charge you £3 to drop you off at Manchester Airport. This is the truth...
Some taxi drivers using the new charging drop-off zones at Manchester Airport are making a profit from unsuspecting passengers.
From Tuesday, drivers carrying out ‘kiss and fly’ drop-offs are charged £3 for five minute stays, £4 for ten minutes, or incur £25 fines if they stay over 10 minutes.
But private hire drivers can apply for a £30 discount card which gives them a 40 per cent discount off the new charges.
That means the £3 charge for a five-minute stay drops to £1.80 and the £4 charge for a 10-minute stay is reduced to £2.40.
But the M.E.N has spoken to passengers who say they have been charged an extra £3 on top of their fares - and a taxi driver who admitted doing it.
One private hire driver who had just dropped off a family of holidaymakers on Tuesday, but asked not to be named, told the M.E.N he had bought a £30 discount card, but admitted he was not passing on the discount to customers.
He added: “But that’s with good reason.
“I paid £30 for the discount card so I have to make that back. Sometimes we might have to stay over 10 minutes and that would be £25, who knows?
“I don’t know how often I’ll be at the airport so I don’t know if I’ll get an opportunity to make back the £30 unless I charge the £3.”
Tony Wilson, who works for the airport’s World Duty Free in customer service, is among customers taking the hit.
He gets a taxi to work every day from Wythenshawe and his £5 journey has increased to £8.
He said: “I don’t think the airport has thought this through in terms of how it affects staff.
“Because I start at 4am there aren’t many other public transport options for me and to travel to Jetparks to get the free shuttle bus would actually cost me £8.50.”
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “As we developed our new forecourt arrangements, we considered the interests of a significant number of user groups. This included frequent commercial users, such as private hire operators, for whom a discount scheme was developed.
“While it is the decision of each private hire firm whether they pass on this discount, it was our intention in creating the scheme that passengers would be the ultimate beneficiaries. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Some passengers and staff have branded the new drop-off charges ‘crazy’ and ‘stupid’ – while others have praised the new system for being organised and efficient.
Drivers are offered the alternative of using a free drop-off area at Jetparks 1, before catching a shuttle bus to their terminal.
The scheme has caused controversy – but airport bosses have insisted it’s aimed at relieving crippling congestion around the site.
The M.E.N spoke to passengers at the airport on Tuesday paying the charge to use the drop-off bays.
Tim Griffiths, 45, an airline pilot, said: “There’s just no need for it. I think people should boycott flights in protest. Why are they charging? It’s crazy, a rip-off. It’s just another tax.
"How is it helping congestion to charge? If you want to improve that then make the infrastructure better.”
Gary Martland, 41, and his partner Mel York, had just been dropped off.
Gary said: “It’s a bit stupid to charge for that. It doesn’t make sense and it should be free.”
Mike Withy, 64, a local government officer from the Wirral, meanwhile, was in favour of the new system.
“I support them – it stops people causing problems by parking up on double yellows to drop off and causing disruption for everyone else.
“It will be even better if they invest it back into the airport and don’t just take it for profit. I’m okay with it, though. It’s efficient and provides equality for all people dropping off which I think can only be a good thing.”
Other passengers were ambivalent.
Phil Sanders, 67, a semi-retired business owner from Appleton, said: “It’s very expensive to just pull up and then pull away again. But we’re not that bothered, it does seem quite organised.”
Another passenger added: “It’s not ideal but I don’t mind – I will mind if they put the charge up to £10 though.”
There has been no change to arrangements for picking people up, with those collecting passengers asked to park in the car parks at each terminal, which cost £4 for 30 minutes.
Hackney drivers, meanwhile, have been boycotting the terminals in protest against their T3 rank being moved ‘out of sight’ to make way for the new drop-off bays.
Unite members say they will continue action until the airport listens to their concerns. On Tuesday they marched around the terminals waving flags and chanting.
How many ‘kiss and fly’ bays are there?
T1 lower - 17 bays
T1 upper - 18
T2 - 33
T3 - 23
Station - Six
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How many payment barriers/lanes are there?
T1 lower - five
T Upper - five
T2 - six
T3 - seven
Station - two
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