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Heathrow plans PHV car park to rid local villages of ‘antisocial’ Uber cars

Heathrow airport is to open a car park for private hire drivers after local residents complained that Uber drivers caused “a huge amount of local distress” by waiting in nearby villages.

A new minicab parking area with space for up to 800 vehicles will be created just north of the airport. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed that the private hire vehicles, mainly Uber
drivers handing around in the hope of picking up a fare, had become “a real issue” for local communities following reports that the drivers were leaving litter and urinating in local gardens. In addition, airport officials have reached an agreement with Uber for the taxi app firm to use geofencing technology to block drivers from being given bookings for arriving airline passengers if they are parked in residential streets.

The technology will mean Uber cars parked in villages such as Sibson and Stanwell will not be visible on Uber customer apps. The new car park is set to open next month. A similar facility is already in place for black cabs. Holland-Kaye said: “Over the past couple of years private hire vehicles, Uber and their like, have just expanded phenomenally and they started to cause a real issue to our local communities. We had Uber drivers parking in people’s driveways, leaving their rubbish in their gardens, causing a huge amount of local distress because they were trying to get as close as possible to the airport to pick up a ride. We don’t control private hire vehicles but I feel we have a responsibility to local communities to do right by them. So next month we will be bringing in a new parking area for private hire vehicles where they will be able to wait before they come to the airport.”

The move is part of outline measures being taken by Heathrow to reduce the impact of building a third runway. Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, said his company had been calling for a dedicated car park for many months. He said: “Back in January, we stopped booking requests going to any Uber partner-drivers parked in residential streets around Heathrow.”

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