A taxi driver boss has accused Edinburgh Airport of discriminating against disabled passengers after he was charged triple the usual drop-off fare for helping his customers into the terminal.
Kind-hearted cabbie Tony Kenmuir was dropping a couple of elderly American tourists who required a wheelchair and assistance to get to the terminal. The Central Taxis chairman says he has been told in the past that his drivers would not be charged extra for helping disabled passengers who may take longer to drop-off.
But instead of paying the expected £1 for up to five minutes in the drop-off zone, Mr Kenmuir was initially charged £5 for between ten and 20 minutes after pushing his passengers’ luggage inside.
He said: “They had a lot of luggage and the gentleman required a wheelchair to get to the terminal building. I parked in a disabled bay and I know there’s a time limit for dropping off so I ran for a wheelchair, then ran for a trolley.
“There is no way they could have reached the terminal unaided so I walked them into the terminal until airport staff could take over.
“We’ve been told in the past that the airport won’t charge us extra for assisting disabled passengers as it can take a few minutes but when I explained to airport staff at the barrier they tried to charge me £5. When I questioned this they reduced it to £3. But this is still triple the £1 it should have been and I was just shocked.
“I think it’s disgraceful that anybody assisting disabled passengers should have to pay more. I think all passengers with accessibility needs and their carers will be disappointed in the airport’s policy and very angry about this.”
Edinburgh Airport has said it has a clear policy in place which allows drivers to have their fees waived if they show a blue badge to office staff within the car park.
Despite this, Edinburgh Airport has vowed to reimburse Mr Kenmuir for the incident on November 4.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “The drop off charge has been in place for more than eight years and the policy around blue badge parking has not changed in that time, with thousands of passengers benefiting from that policy.
“Like disabled parking bays, we require blue badge proof to protect the integrity of the system and to ensure those who require that space and extra time have access to it. The airport’s services for passengers with reduced mobility was recently rated as Very Good and we continue to make improvements where we can.”
Mr Kenmuir claims to have no knowledge of the policy and claims the airport will now be making more money from disabled passengers after doubling drop-off charges earlier this month.
The 49-year-old added: “I’ve never been made aware of this policy and Central Taxis is the biggest taxi firm in Edinburgh.
“These passengers were American tourists so why would they have a blue badge? Disabled people do not usually carry their blue badges with them. Basically if a taxi driver drops off at the airport then they will be charged more money. In 14 years as a taxi driver I’ve never seen anything like this. It is outrageous that people should be charged more money for assisting disabled passengers.”