Edinburgh Airport drop off charge enforced
Edinburgh Airport has begun charging £1 for every car and taxi to drop passengers off outside the terminal.
Airport owners BAA said the new drop-off charge had been introduced in a bid to solve congestion problems as there was only space for 18 cars.
A free drop-off zone has been retained at the long-stay car park which requires a transfer by shuttle bus.
The airport has invested in two new additional buses for passengers using the free drop off area.
Managing director of Edinburgh Airport, Kevin Brown, said: "This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning and I believe that it will make a real difference to those dropping passengers off at Edinburgh Airport.
"At a stroke it will reduce congestion, improve air quality, provide a safer environment and encourage drivers to think about using public transport.
"It was very clear to me on my arrival at the airport in July that the forecourt was not fit for purpose.
"This £1m investment not only gives the airport a suitable drop off facility for current passenger levels, but allows us to cope with the predicted growth in passengers in coming years.
"I understand that some politicians and members of the public are unhappy with our decision to introduce a charge for those wishing to drop off close to the terminal.
"It is however a business decision that allows us to continue to invest in our airport, building on the £150m we've invested since 2007."
Disabled passengers who are dropped off by friends and family will not have to pay, as current policy to admit blue badge holders into the forecourt for 15 minutes free of charge, will be maintained.
Taxi drivers will have to pay the fee themselves for all passengers who want dropped off outside the terminal as council legislation prevents them from passing the charge on to their customers.
All major radio taxi firms in Edinburgh have lodged a request for a review in a bid to allow the charge to be added to the customer's fare.
Murray Flemming, who is the representative for Central Taxis and a committee member of the Scottish Taxi Federation, said: "This will make a significant impact on Edinburgh taxi drivers.
"Effectively, drivers are taking a wage cut.
"I'm concerned for the self-employed drivers who are going to bear the cost in the short term until the council decide whether it is going to be added to the tariff sheet."
Gavin Brown, MSP for the Lothians has been campaigning against the introduction of this charge for months.
He said: "I think to charge somebody for dropping off friends or family members is pretty mean and plain wrong."
"If you live in the city or Haymarket getting to the airport is fine but if you live further out in the Lothians then the airport is difficult to get to by public transport."
One driver dropping off passengers said: "It's not great, I have just dropped off my mum and sister and I now have to wait to pick up my husband.
"I could do with the extra time to wait."
For each £1 charge in the fast track drop off area, 15p will be put into an Edinburgh Airport Community Fund, supporting community and environment projects in and around the airport and its local communities.
It is expected that this fund will see approximately £75,000 spent annually.
About 25% of Edinburgh Airport's passengers are currently dropped off with 28% of passengers arriving at the airport via public transport.