Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dropped Right in It; Anger over Airport's New Parking Fees

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dropped Right in It; Anger over Airport's New Parking Fees

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA NICHOL

PASSENGERS faced confusion on the first day of a new parking scheme at Newcastle International Airport.

As reported in the Chronicle earlier this month, airport bosses announced they were axing the free drop-off zone outside the main terminal's entrance.

Instead, a new express car park was put on the site, with a charge of pounds 1 for the first 20 minutes.

People wanting to avoid being charged now have to use a new designated car park that bosses say is a three-minute walk from the terminal.

Parking there is free for an extended time of 15 minutes instead of the old five minutes.

Yesterday was the first day of the new parking scheme and it was met with anger from bewildered passengers who said the changes had not been made clear. Many were unaware of the new charges until after they had gone through the barriers into the new express car park (the old drop-off zone) and then were met with confusion of how to pay.

Taxi drivers said the scheme was "disgusting" and that the new free car park was impractical as it was too far away from the terminal.

Cabbie John Courtney said: "It's disgraceful.

We bring customers to and from the airport and now we're having to pay.

"The first thing I knew of the changes was this morning. They have one tiny purple sign informing you but most people miss it and don't know until it comes to paying when they leave.

"It's been really chaotic here today. I was here earlier as well and everyone is confused about how and where to pay. It's been really badly managed.

"Nobody is using the new free car park because it's just too far away for collecting customers with luggage. A lot of people who order taxis are elderly or infirm and the three-minute walk is just too much for them."

Taxi driver Jason Radford, from Durham-based cab firm Safeline Executive, said: "You don't get receipts anymore, they have taken the paying machine out. I can't claim the costs back from my boss. I'm paying out of my own pocket. It's ludicrous."

David Mathewson was waiting to pick up his wife and said the lack of signs was causing problems.

The 44-year-old, from Newcastle city centre, said: "I didn't realise until I was in a lane and coming up to the barriers to get in. …

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