The introduction of drop-off charges at Leeds Bradford Airport is sending out a bad message about Yorkshire to the rest of the world, it has been claimed.
The so-called ‘kiss and fly’ tax at the Yeadon site means there is a minimum £2 fee for anyone who wants to pick up or drop off friends and family outside the terminal building.
But now some taxi drivers are starting a petition against the ‘greedy’ charges and the move has also attracted criticism from members of the public and a raft of councillors at Leeds City Council.
One of the councillors, Javiad Akhtar, is also a taxi driver and the Yorkshire branch secretary of Professional Drivers’ Branch of the GMB union, and he says people are “pretty disgusted” by the new fees.
The airport has introduced a free drop-off service in the long- stay car parks about half-a-mile from the terminal and a shuttle bus takes passengers to the terminal and back.
An annual £25 subscription is also in place for taxi drivers to use the short-stay car park for up to 15 minutes at a time.
However, Coun Akhtar says he wants to make a stance about the new drop-off fees for the people and reputation of West Yorkshire. “I have decided to stand up for the people in the region and especially West Yorkshire,” he said.
“What you’ve got to remember is when people come to Leeds Bradford Airport and go from Leeds Bradford Airport, they’re not only Yorkshire people but people from across the world.
“What sort of message are they taking about our region, that we have gone below the belt and started charging for drop-offs and pick-ups?
“People can’t even say goodbye to their loved ones in the space of five or ten minutes. To me this is absolutely crazy.
“We’ve started a petition because a lot of drivers are complaining and also the general public.
“We’ve decided to get the petition ready and our members are getting signatures.
“I must say, not a single passenger I’ve come across has supported this £2 fee.
“Everybody is pretty disgusted with the attitude of the airport and people are saying it’s a rip-off, greediness and so on and so forth.
“But more than anything else I think people need to be aware of this, because we’re all going through financial hardship. They’re not making any friends.”
Under the system, airport cameras record car number plates as they drive into the short-stay car park next to the terminal.
The fee, which rises to £5 after 30 minutes, is computed as the car leaves the car park.
No one from the airport wished to comment.