Essex

Stansted Airport drop-off charge increase 'an absolute disgrace'

Stansted Airport Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Charges for Stansted Airport's "Express Set Down" area are going up by 50p to £3 for 10 minutes

An increase in charges to use Stansted Airport's drop-off zone has been described as "an absolute disgrace" and "a licence to print money".

The "Express Set Down" tariff is going up by 50p to £3 for 10 minutes, and anyone who stays longer than that will be charged a £50 penalty instead of £2.50 for each extra minute.

Drivers and taxi firms have criticised the increase on social media.

Stansted Airport said the changes were part of an annual price review.

'Old classic'

An airport spokesman said alternative options were available "to suit all budgets", and drivers could drop people off without charge in the mid-stay car park.

David Burke, owner of Alpha Executive Cars, said the free drop-off was not an option for him and many others.

"We're an upmarket chauffeuring service - we can't drop our clients in a car park and make them get a bus," he said.

"It's the old classic - they've got a licence to print money. They say they provide an alternative, but it's not an alternative for us."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The airport said the increase was part of an annual price review

Mr Burke said his company would have to spend £150 a month to pay the new tariff; an increase of £25 per month on the previous rate.

"For 50p, I doubt we'll increase the rates we charge," he told the BBC. "But eventually operators will have to start passing the charges on to clients - we won't be able to take the hit on our margins."

Regular airport user Marlene Creak said Stansted's decision was "an absolute disgrace".

"You've got to be pretty quick to get in that car, get going and hope there's not somebody in the queue who can't get their money in. If there is, you've had it," she said.

Stansted Airport said the charges would reduce congestion in the drop-off area, and all set-down users should be able to exit within the 10-minute period.

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