Fears grow over minicab drivers’ behaviour for London City Airport’s neighbours
PUBLISHED: 18:30 07 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:30 09 February 2017
Neighbours fear they will be living in a ghetto unless minicab drivers using their streets as an unofficial pick up point change their anti-social behaviour.
People living in Newland Street and adjoining roads have complained of feeling unsafe with up to 20 or more cars queueing along the half mile route as they wait for pick ups at neighbouring London City Airport.
Paula Black, who has lived in nearby Sheldrake Close for more than 20 years and reported seeing drivers littering and relieving themselves in the street, said: “It doesn’t feel nice anymore. This is the worst we’ve seen it.
“It’s a lack of respect for the people who live here whether they’re older people or children. It’s like we don’t matter,” the 49-year-old added.
Hurkhan Ahmed, 28, who has lived in nearby Winifred Street all his life, said: “Kids run between these cars. The drivers park so close to a bend, a blind spot for drivers. Any drivers coming down the road will only see someone crossing at the very last moment. I had to emergency stop because of some of the cab drivers’ parking.”
Grandmother Elaine Bullard, 61, who also lives in Sheldrake Close and claims to have seen a driver urinating up a wall near her home, said: “I’m not knocking the airport. It’s the drivers themselves not being respectful.”
London City Airport provides a rank for black cabs free of charge with minicab and private hire drivers dropping off for free at the front of the terminal, but according to Hurkhan, drivers are using the streets around the hub to avoid paying charges while waiting for pick ups at the short stay car park.
Acknowledging the neighbours’ concerns, a spokeswoman for London City said the airport had written to minicab firms in the area to advise them of “appropriate behaviour”, but admitted it does not employ minicab drivers or have regulatory rights over them.
She added: “We have been liaising with the London Borough of Newham over the issue and believe their proposed controlled parking zone for the Royal Docks area is the best solution.
“We have been fully supportive of the implementation of such a system, which we understand is due to be introduced this year.”
A spokesman for firm Addison Lee said: “We have been made aware in the past of concerns from residents about drivers using Newland Street for waiting.
“We deal with incidents on a case by case basis, working with residents to identify vehicles so we can speak to the driver and ask them to move on.
“We will continue to use our driver communication channels to instruct drivers not to wait in Newland Street, and will monitor the area with our quality assessors who will routinely visit this and other streets around the airport.”
An Uber spokesman added: “We take any reports of antisocial behaviour very seriously, and what has been alleged is clearly unacceptable.
“Whilst this issue is not confined to Uber, we would urge residents to report such behaviour so we can take the appropriate action.
“We’re currently looking into a permanent solution.”
A council spokeswoman said enforcement officers have been monitoring the area and have issued four penalty notices to date following complaints.
She added: “We are in contact with the various cab companies to look at long term sustainable solutions.”
The council have also said they can now issue warnings banning drivers from neighbourhoods around the airport with community protection notices issued to any who return and a £100 fine if they breach the terms of the notice for a third time.
“We hope this action will deter mini-cabs from negatively affecting the quality of life of our residents,” she said.
Meanwhile the council noted a consultation over Residents Parking Zones continues with people living in the area urged to contribute to make sure measures are introduced to “best impact on the issues that matter to them”.
However, the spokeswoman said: “As London City Airport do not allow minicabs to use the official taxi rank, the issues caused by minicabs congregating in residential streets is likely to remain, unless the RPZ is in effect during the Airport’s core operating hours.”