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Leeds and Bradford Airport: ‘Kiss and fly’ tax triples for minibus drivers

Minibus, coach and drivers of any other vehicle with eight or more seats now have to pay �6 to drop off or collect travellers.

Minibus, coach and drivers of any other vehicle with eight or more seats now have to pay �6 to drop off or collect travellers.

  • by Sophie Hazan
 

Controversial new airport charges will hit drivers of larger vehicles in the pocket.

Minibus, coach and drivers of any other vehicle with eight or more seats now have to pay £6 to drop off or collect travellers from Leeds Bradford International Airport.

The fee doubles to £15 for stays of up to 60 minutes, and 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.

Chris Hall, office manager for Armley-based private hire firm Amber Cars, said it will cost cab drivers dearly.

He said: “Fares from airports can be good payers but many customers are going to be very unhappy about these charges.

“It’ll be a headache for drivers of bigger vehicles. They’ll have to turn down airport fares for smaller groups as they won’t be able to pass that charge on to them.”

Eric Jackson, who along with wife Sue runs EJ Private Hire in Eggborough, near Selby, said 2012 had been a ‘bumper’ year for fares to Leeds Bradford Airport.

They run two vehicles – a seven-seater Citroen C8 and a nine-seater VW Transporter.

Most of their fares are for one or two passengers, who will not want to absorb the extra cost, meaning the couple will be forced to turn away some jobs.

Mr Jackson told the YEP it would make more sense to tax passenger numbers, not vehicle sizes.

Asked why he thought the new charges had been introduced, he said: “They’re getting a good income. I could understand it a little more if it was £3, but not £6.”

Asked why these charges had been introduced at all, a spokeswoman for Leeds Airport said it was about safety.

She said: “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.”

But critics argue the tariff puts lives at risk as many are opting to be dropped off on the roadside to avoid the charges.

 

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