New extortionate pick-up & drop-off fees introduced without any notice to operators
Drop off and pick-up fees for coaches & minibuses at Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA) have rocketed – in a move Daniel Donnor of York-based minicoach operator Tower Travel described as “Absolute scandal, daylight robbery.”
Minibus, coach and drivers of any other vehicle with eight or more seats now have to pay £6 to drop off or collect passengers from LBIA. The fee more than doubles to £15 for stays of up to 60 minutes and again to £30 for two hours. Each subsequent hour costs £15.
The so called ‘kiss and fly’ tax caused outrage when it was first introduced at the airport in spring 2011, with a blanket charge of £2 per vehicle. Now larger vehicles will pay three times that figure.
Asked why these charges had been introduced at all, a spokeswoman for Leeds Airport said it was about safety. “Only larger minibus vehicles of over eight seats are subject to the higher charge and they now have a dedicated lane with the space they need to operate safely,” she added.
However, critics argue the tariff puts lives at risk as many are opting to be dropped off on the roadside to avoid the charges.
Mr Donnor was highly critical of the move. He told CBW: “This increase has been introduced without any notice. We’re having to pass it on to customers immediately. We’ve added ‘plus £12 LBIA rip-off fee’ to our invoices.
“The coin collection buckets also seem designed for cars – they’re just two and a half feet off the ground. The receipt button is also awkwardly placed. Furthermore, the coach operators’ pick up and drop-off area has been moved about 400 yards further away from the terminal entrance.”
Mr Donnor was keen to warn operators and drivers: “A little addition which easily goes unnoticed is a sign stating if your second visit is within six hours, you’re into the £15 tariff – no matter how short your visit. It’s not uncommon for us to have the same vehicle and driver do back to back runs to the airport. We typically go to LBIA 120 times per annum. In that context, the extra cash we’re being forced to pay would buy someone a very nice holiday.”
In a reply given to Mr Donnor, LBIA attempted to justify the new charges, which read: “If your vehicle fits under the 1.9m height restriction you are welcome to use the car lane which charges £2 and if it is higher than this the minibus and coach lane will be used.
“Minibuses/coaches carry many more passengers than a car which is charged £2, therefore whilst there is a £4 difference, this is justified by the amount of passengers and by the convenient and prime location to the terminal building.
“Alternatively you are welcome to use the free one hour stay which is now located closer to the terminal in the short stay 2 car park and can be accessed through the long stay 1 car park.”
However, as Mr Donnor observed: “LBIA has forgotten about the 6’ 6” height barrier on the long-term parking entrance. As operators, we’re supplying LBIA with large volumes of people to visit their shops – in addition to saving car and taxi journeys.”
CPT Regional Manager Keith McNally told CBW LBIA had not consulted him on the matter. “I will be contacting them to discuss the new arrangements,” he confirmed.