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Heathrow Airport’s £5 drop-off and taxi fee delayed to 1st November

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The new £5 ‘Forecourt Access Charge’ drop off fee at Heathrow Airport will now launch on 1st November.

It was originally due to launch next month but the date has slipped. 1st November does seem firm, however, and the plan is definitely not going away.

On 8th March, Gatwick Airport launched its own £5 drop off fee. It was virtually certain from that point that Heathrow would follow.

Heathrow £5 drop-off fee 'confirmed' for October

At £5 Heathrow and Gatwick will have the second-highest drop off charges in the UK. Stansted remains the leader, charging £7.

The scheme will be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. The charge will be paid online, via mobile phone or by an automated telephone service. You can set up an account so that all visits with your vehicle are automatically charged to a stored payment card.

‘Blue Badge’ and emergency vehicles will be exempt.

The Forecourt Access Charge replaces the Heathrow Ultra Low Emissions Zone first touted in 2019 and which would have put a heavy charge on the most polluting vehicles which use the airport. The new £5 fee is payable by everyone regardless of the environmental impact of their vehicle.

One option to avoid paying the fee if arriving by car will a drop off in one of the long stay car parks, travelling to the terminal via a free shuttle bus.

This Daily Mail article calculates that, even with a decline in car use to Heathrow due to the fee and covid recovery, the charge could still generate £100 million per year.

You can find out more on this page of the Heathrow website where the new 1st November date is confirmed.

Thanks to Greg for this.

Comments (67)

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  • A says:

    For those who have no choice, say, people who don’t want to come from the west on worst late western and doubling back on the HeX, it is a p*sstake

  • IanM says:

    Very commonplace, I think you only get 5 minutes at EDI for £4

  • Martin Louis says:

    Some fees are introduced as “nudges” to change people’s behaviour. The London Congestion charge is an example – you’ll only really pay that fee if you have to go through or to the city, otherwise you’ll drive round.

    This doesn’t give you much choice, particularly if you have lots of luggage or elderly travellers. If you have disabled guests, you personally probably won’t have a Blue Badge so you’re forced to pay the charge.

    This does nothing for any cause except raise revenue for the shareholders and executive’s bonuses. Out and out cash grab.

    • GJB says:

      A disabled badge can be used even if it belongs to your passenger.

    • JDB says:

      I am sure you appreciate that the drop off charge, along with other ancillaries such as car parking, goes into the ‘single till’ regulated pot so goes towards reducing the passenger charge; it doesn’t raise money for the shareholders or executive bonuses as you suggest.

      • Lady London says:

        Really JDB, do you seriously believe that.

        • JDB says:

          Yes, it’s crystal clear; it cannot believe you even question it.

        • Lady London says:

          You cannot be serious. No charge ever goes to reducing anything. Not in a profitmaking business paying dividends to shareholders.

  • Jordan D says:

    I just wish they would be more honest and say it was a cash grab to refill the coffers after the pandemic. I’d respect them for the honesty, because there was never going to be any respect for the actual fee amount.

    The long stay drop off/collection window (which I think is now 2hrs) is all well and good, apart from the fact that long stay buses are “on demand”, so you can’t guarantee when one will come, and the 2hrs includes you shuttling to/from the car park to the terminal, which cuts into that window. Not really a valid alternate.

    • Skyshare says:

      The buses are no longer on demand, they are timetabled every 15 minutes, at least for T5 long term

  • Paul says:

    A trip to Glasgow now has £18 in additional airport fees if you use cars at either end! It won’t be long before it’s £40.

    I get it’s to try and change behaviour but the infrastructure doesn’t exist. In Europe, and I appreciate that’s a dirty word in Engerland! You rarely find an airport not connected the mainline railway system. Here you need few airports are genuinely connected by rail including Heathrow! It’s time to bite the bullet, build a new hub and connect to a modern rail network serving the entire country

    • AJA says:

      Crossrail will eventually be linked to LHR which means access will be possible from Reading in the west, London in the middle, to Shenfield in the east. It already has TfL Tail, HEX and the tube. Plus the railair busses from Woking and Reading and the London bus network. I’d say LHR is pretty well served by public transport already.

      LGW has a railway station which has the dedicated Gatwick Express and also Southern Rail.

      • JDB says:

        And LHR is already connected to the rail network via Hayes & Harlington, very convenient for anywhere on the Great Western line.

    • Ian says:

      Why use a car at GLA? The 500 bus is waiting for you right outside the door of the terminal, takes 15 mins to get into the city centre and doesn’t cost much.

  • NG says:

    A money-grabbing exploit. What if a taxi makes several drop-off in a day – is the charge for each drop-off or once only per day?

    • Rob says:

      Once each time, but it will be added to your fare so the driver doesn’t lose out.

  • Dave says:

    London black taxis have been granted drop off exemption until April 2022..So there won’t be any extra charge on the fare until at least unti then…

  • Dave says:

    The long term car parks now have signage showing free drop off..Be aware there does not seem to be any provision to collect passengers and even if waiting is allowed , the free time waiting in the car park has been reduced from 2 hours to 30 minutes , possibly only 20 minutes..

    • J says:

      Ah that’s what happened, I was sure I had 2 hours free, and checked the night before pick up, saw 30 mins, and had to change plans. Takes away a free pick-up option if you need to help someone with their bags.

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