Drivers in the northeast have taken umbrage over new parking arrangements at Newcastle Airport, branding the scheme ‘disgusting.’
The airport removed its free drop-off zones on the 26th April in favour of a ‘pay as you stay’ car park, which has a mandatory charge of £1 for the first 20 minutes. The fee might sound small, but taxi drivers who spend all day driving backwards and forwards from the airport have been hit with hefty bills.
Poor advertising of the scheme has only confused matters, with many motorists unsure of how, or where, to pay. One cabbie described the scheme’s debut as ‘chaotic’ and ‘disgraceful,’ and called for the airport to provide more information notices, warning travellers of the recent changes.
Newcastle continues to operate a free car park, but travellers fear that it is not located close enough to the airport to be of any use to customers with special needs. Disabled people, for example, or those with cumbersome luggage, will be forced to use the airport’s new parking zone, however expensive it may be.
David Mathewson, a local man, was worried about the charges, ‘I’ve been in the drop-off zone 30 minutes. It’s going to cost me a fortune. It’s beyond me why they’ve brought in this new system.’ Other drivers were concerned that the removal of ticket machines prevents them from recouping parking fees from employers, as no receipts are produced.
Airport bosses have defended the scheme, citing increased demand as the impetus for the changes. Newcastle’s free parking area is now located near the long-stay car park, a 3 minute walk from the main terminal.