A taxi driver has spoken out against what he has described as the "absolutely ridiculous" decision to change the parking tariff at East Midlands Airport's rapid drop-off point.
The airport changed the fee from 10 minutes for £2 to five minutes for £2 on Monday 20th May.
Drivers are then charged an additional £1 per minute after the five minutes has passed.
An East Midlands Airport spokesman has said the decision to change the tariff is to reduce the congestion that builds due to drivers spending more than five minutes at the drop-off point, which is right outside the airport's arrivals and departures entrances.
But Tony Parkinson from Bilborough, Nottinghamshire who has been driving taxis for 23 years says he feels he can't do his job "properly" due to having to rush customers to avoid "extortionate" fees.
The taxi driver who works for a private firm, regularly does airport runs up and down the country and claims his colleagues and members of the public will be left out of pocket by the decision. He said:
It's an absolutely ridiculous decision that they can't warrant.
There was no forewarning for it. I did a drop off on Sunday night when it was £2 for 10 minutes and then on Monday it was £2 for five minutes.
I pride myself on my customer service. I feel like I'm not able to do my job properly now and have to rush people out the taxi and to the door so I don't get charged extortionately. It's just a money-making scheme.
Andy Tyler Smith, East Midlands Airport’s customer services and security director, said:
Passengers being dropped off at the forecourt are subject to a charge. This is designed to reduce traffic congestion at the airport and surrounding roads, making the site safer, while encouraging increased use of alternative, more sustainable transport options.
Reducing the 10 minute wait to five minutes will continue to improve the effectiveness of this facility allowing more vehicles to get in and out quicker.
Drivers who wish to wait longer can park free of charge for one hour in 'Long Stay 2' which is situated near the airport bus stop at the west side of the airport site.
A frequent, free bus service takes passengers to and from the main terminal entrance within 5 minutes or, by foot, it’s a 15 minute walk.
Vehicles carrying disabled passengers who have a Blue Badge can park free of charge for 30 minutes in 'Short Stay 1', the closest car park to the both departures and arrivals.
Colin Brown, 54, has worked as a taxi driver in South Tyneside for the last two decades.
But he was unable to work for three weeks after offenders destroyed his cab while he lay fast asleep in his Hebburn home.
Upon hearing the commotion and the smashing of glass on the street outside, a neighbour went out to investigate – and alerted Mr Brown that his car had been smashed and severely dented.
Now the Express Taxi driver is urging any witnesses of the incident to come forward and contact police.
“This is my livelihood. I’ve lived on Toner Avenue for three years and it’s a quiet street – nothing ever happens down here. Nobody can quite believe what happened.
“I’ve never had any issues with anybody, I love driving my cab and it’s hard to understand why I may have been targeted in this way.
"The damage was horrendous and I was left without a car and without income for three weeks.
“We’ve all got bills to pay, money going out – it was such a frustrating time. My mother was in hospital recovering from a brain tumour, so I had to find a way to see her without having a car.
“I don’t think those responsible understand how their actions can affect people. Thankfully, I’ve now been sorted out with a new cab and I’m back on the road - but I’d ask anyone who knows anything about what happened to contact police.”
Police were alerted to the incident shortly after 12.30am on April 30 and found the car’s windscreen had been smashed, along with four windows.
There was also substantial damage to the roof as the vandals dented the top of the car, jumping up and down on it, before fleeing the scene.
An investigation was launched to trace those responsible and Mr Brown’s vehicle was taken away for analysis by the Force’s forensic experts.
Inspector Denise Easdon, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was a heartless act that has had a significant financial effect on the victim.
“Intentional acts of criminal damage such as this are totally unacceptable, and we are appealing to anybody who saw anything in the Toner Avenue area on the night in question to come forward.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting reference 22 300419 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or email email@example.com.
Taxi driver John Worboys has appeared in court accused of drugging four women in a bid to carry out sex attacks.
The 62-year-old is said to have told his alleged victims he had won money gambling after picking them up in his taxi between 2000 and 2008 in London.
Prosecutors say he offered them alcoholic drinks, such as champagne, which were laced with a sedative.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court by video-link from Wakefield prison on Thursday.
Grey-haired Worboys, wearing a grey shirt and glasses, gave his name as John Derek Radford before confirming his date of birth, his nationality as British and that he currently resides in HMP Wakefield.
He sat listening intently to proceedings and making notes as prosecutor Jonathan Polnay outlined the charges against him.
Worboys faces two counts of administering a stupefying or overpowering drug with intent to commit rape or indecent assault under the Offences Against the Person Act, and two of administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence under the Sexual Offences Act.
He did not indicate pleas to the charges, which relate to four women, none of whom can be identified for legal reasons, who made allegations to police in early 2018.
The first alleged victim was allegedly picked up in Worboys' taxi after leaving a bar.
He is said to have told her he had won money on the horses and that he had been a stripper before offering her an alcoholic drink laced with drugs in a plastic cup.
Worboys is said to have used similar tactics to drug the other women.
District Judge Michael Snow sent the case to the Old Bailey, where Worboys is next expected to appear by video-link on June 20.
He told Worboys: "At that hearing, the judge will require you to enter your pleas of guilty or not guilty to those charges."
Police have launched an appeal after a taxi driver claimed he was sexually assaulted by a passenger while driving through Liverpool city centre.
The incident is said to have happened while the driver was heading down Pembroke Street during the early hours of the morning. The driver, said to be in his 30s, claims that a customer sexually assaulted him as he was driving.
The ECHO understands the driver forced the man out of the taxi after the incident. He later reported the matter to police, which is said to have happened at around 12.40am on May 12.
A police spokesman said: "Merseyside Police are currently investigating an allegation of sexual assault following an incident that took place on 12th May.
"The incident was reported to have happened in the early hours of Sunday morning at around 00:40am on Pembroke Street, Liverpool when a taxi driver, a man in his 30s, was reportedly sexually assaulted by a male passenger. Officers are continuing to investigate the incident and are working with the taxi driver to identify the person responsible."
Detective Inspector Graeme Towndrow said: “Anyone that has also been a victim of a similar incident is urged to get in contact so we can investigate and bring offenders to justice.
“No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or scared going about their daily business. Taxi drivers are key within the Merseyside community and we’ll do everything we can to support everyone living, working and visiting Merseyside.”
Anyone with information should call 101 or DM @MerPolCC quoting 19100246681.
"AS a former private hire driver in York I wish to reply to The Press report of May 18 (750 complaints about taxis in the last three years) in defence of the licensed York drivers.
While I agree with Tony Green that one complaint is one too many, I’m sure many people in York have a positive experience with taxis with no cause for complaint - especially if you take into account the acts of kindness to the public that I gave to people in my time and which I know carry on today.
Sadly it is probably only the complaints that City of York Council hear, not the many good experiences.
If you break down the data, then 750 complaints in three years (1,095 days) is not even one complaint per day from more than 1,000 registered York drivers. If you knew how many complaints were upheld you could reduce the figure more.
With the proportion of complaints being much higher for out of town vehicles, then were there no out of town taxis I really do feel you would have even less of a problem.
If you become a taxi driver you should be very well aware at the outset exactly what dealing with the public involves.
Believe me it is not an easy job at all. I felt physically threatened many times by undesirable people, and a taxi driver’s outgoings are extremely expensive. But I was very proud to be a member of the decent taxi driving fraternity in York."