Uber scrap flat rate fares to London airports, but residents report problems with residential parking by drivers

Uber has announced it will stop offering flat rate fares to customers travelling to Heathrow and Gatwick Airport.  Uber used to offer a series of set fares for trips to the London airports, so customers know what to expect when going on their holidays and leisure trips. Uber fares to Heathrow from west London would start at £30, while passengers from south east London could get to Gatwick for £50.  Now the fares will be calculated on the time and distance, as they are for other Uber journeys. Customers can see from the phone app how much their trip will cost. Uber also announced that airport pick-ups will incur an additional surcharge, to cover minimum parking costs. However, there are a number of reports indicating that Uber cars are upsetting residents in areas near Heathrow, as large numbers park (for free) in residential roads, for hours, waiting for calls to pick up passengers. Waiting in streets with no facilities mean drivers have been reported urinating in gardens, or defecating near their cars. There have been complaints of groups of drivers appearing to be a threatening presence, being rude to residents, sleeping in their cars, and playing music into the night, while they wait.  Uber and Heathrow are meant to be trying to sort out the problems. Problems are also reported in the Stansted area.


ITS NOT JUST AT HEATHROW : Uber drivers upsetting villagers near Stansted Airport



Lack of parking restrictions in a village just one mile from Stansted airport where residential streets are being used as waiting areas for minicabs is causing anger and frustration for those who live there.

Residents in Takeley are finding their streets lined with minicabs, lately many of them the new Uber cars, waiting for callouts to the airport.

And with no residential parking restrictions in place save for one hour between 10am and 11am each day, they feel they have “no leg to stand on”.

Paige-Elizabeth Reed, whose mother lives in the village, said: “The parking is getting so bad, with Uber drivers sitting outside the residents’ houses for hours.”

But North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP), which has responsibility for parking in the Uttlesford District, says it is aware of the problem and is doing what it can to “enforce the area”.

A spokesperson said: “The problem extends to the clearway on Parsonage Road and Stansted Courtyard. Restrictions limiting parking to a specific one hour period are usually put in place to prevent commuters from all-day parking.

“Residents concerned about these licensed minicabs parking in the area should report their concerns to their Local Authority, in this case Uttlesford District Council which is the licensing authority.”

When asked about the licensing in the area, UDC replied: “UDC: “We do license taxis in the district, BUT, THESE UBER CARS ARE OFTEN PHVs LICENSED BY TfL IN LONDON, and they wait around near the airport for jobs to come in via the app.

“Obviously if there are no restrictions, they do have the right to park, even if it is inconsiderate of resident’s needs.”

NEPP says it considers the potential benefits and impacts of many parking or waiting restriction requests from across north Essex, and would gladly do so in this instance.

However, it does stipulate that applications for parking or waiting restrictions must be able to demonstrate clear support, including from the local ward councillor.

“Each request is reviewed and scored, looking at key factors including the level of local support, potential benefits and impacts,” said the spokesperson.

“Schemes are then referred to the Partnership’s Committee to prioritise and agree which will be progressed.”

Ms Reed says that restrictions must be looked at more closely and as a matter of priority, as currently residents feel powerless to take action.

“We have no leg to stand on. This needs to be sorted because it’s getting beyond a joke,” she said.

“1 mile from the airport and there’s people sat for hours just waiting and waiting. It has to and needs to stop. Make it permits only so residents can park easily with no hassle.”

Parish clerk Jane Heskey said the problem had arisen in the past few weeks.

She went on to say: “There is an average of 40 to 50 minicab cars waiting around the village.

There is a real problem with litter and there are no toilet facilities in their cars so there is also the obvious issue with bottles of urine and plastic bags full of human feces being discarded.”

She urged residents to record registration plates and take pictures of the cars so they could be checked out.



Dozens of Uber drivers ‘urinating in gardens, leaving Tesco bags of faeces in the road, and playing music through the night’ in residential streets near Heathrow

  • Residents in Stanwell, Surrey, took to Twitter to complain about vehicles
    ‘Aggressive’ drivers also run engines through night and block the streets
  • One man, 67, alleged he had been racially abused by one waiting driver
  • Uber told one customer drivers were ‘to be expected’ due to high demand


9.1.2016 (Mail online)

Some extracts from a longer article below:
Residents in Stanwell, Surrey, took to social media to complain about more than 40 cars at a time waiting on one road.

The ‘aggressive’ drivers were running their engines through the night, blocking the streets and urinating in gardens, they said.

Uber drivers are flocking to streets near Heathrow – including Oaks Street in Stanwell – where they urinate in gardens, leave plastic bags of excrement and play music through the night as they wait for customers, it has been claimed

One woman told MailOnline: ‘We’ve counted as many as 42 cars in one evening on our road and you can map those numbers to the Uber app as waiting for pick ups at Heathrow. They leave engines running, lights on, get out of their cars and talk in groups in the middle of the road, urinate up against garden walls and leave all their litter from takeaways.

“They also double park so the road is now impassable and when we’ve asked them to move as we cannot park outside our home, they get aggressive and quote the law.” She said the problem was worse around peak flight times, with cars arriving as early as 5am.

She added: ‘I don’t feel safe when there are lots of drivers. They are like a pack.

“Tensions are running very high and there were two arguments on my road on Thursday where neighbours asked drivers to move on and they would not. We love our home and don’t want to even have to think about moving but it could tip us that far if we don’t get support to change this awful situation.2

When Mrs X contacted Uber to complain about the problem, she was told it was ‘to be expected’ due to her street being an area of high demand. A customer service worker told her [the drivers were independent contractors, whose aim is to be in the right place at the right time.] “By your neighborhood being a high traffic area, this is to be expected.”

[One person complained on Twitter that they had over 15 Uber drivers per now urinating into bottles, and sleeping in their cars, waiting for Heathrow trips].

[Someone else said 5 drivers had been littering, and there were 2 urinating in his garden, with 39 taxis in the road. An Asian resident said he had been subject to racist abuse when he asked a driver to move his vehicle.]

[Another said] “They leave their lights and the engine running for hours.

Another residentsaid he had written to both borough and county councillors in a bid to raise the issue.

An Uber spokesman said: ‘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 are working closely with Heathrow and hope to have a robust solution in place in the near future.”



Uber has scrapped flat rate fares to London airports

Monday 25 Jan 2016 (Metro)

Uber has announced it will stop offering flat rate fares to customers travelling to Heathrow and Gatwick Airport.

Until now, the company offered a series of set fares to trips to the London airports, so you’d know what to expect when going on holiday.

Trips to Heathrow from west London would start at just £30 while passengers from south east London could get to Gatwick for £50.

But from today, Uber will return to the ‘Uber’ way and calculate fares based on time and distance rates.

In an email to customers, Uber said: ‘Flat rate fares between London airports and central London will no longer apply — instead, fares will be calculated using Uber’s time and distance rates — just as they are for normal Uber trips.’

‘Whether you’re heading off on a business trip or coming back from holiday, you can always get a fare estimate in–app to see how much your ride will cost.’

Uber also announced in the email that from today, airport pick-ups will incur an additional surcharge to cover minimum parking costs.

Customers have expressed their disappointment on Twitter, with one user tweeting: ‘Very disappointed that Uber are moving to calculated airport fares – the flat rates were one less thing to worry about when travelling.’