Uber drivers waiting in villages around Heathrow have been blocked from collecting air passengers after causing “huge distress” to local communities, according to the airport’s boss.
The number of arriving passengers requesting a car via the global firm’s app rather than taking an airport taxi has led to a surge in vehicles waiting unofficially in neighbouring villages such as Stanwell and Sipson.
Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Uber drivers are parking in people’s driveways, leaving a load of rubbish in the drives and causing a huge amount of distress.”
Uber has “geo-fenced” the villages in its app, he said, so that its drivers cannot pick up fares from Heathrow while waiting in those areas.
Instead, Heathrow has announced it is planning to build a waiting area capable of holding about 800 private hire vehicles on the airport’s northern perimeter road.
A spokesman said the move was in response to “unacceptable behaviour” from Uber drivers that had become a major local concern.
Residents had reported drivers dropping litter, blocking access and urinating in gardens.
Uber said it had voluntarily installed the geo-fencing in response to complaints, and had been urging Heathrow for some time to come up with the alternative parking solution announced on Wednesday.
The move was announced as Heathrow unveiled new proposals, including curbs on night flights, and agreed to meet or exceed the Airports Commission’s conditions, should permission for a third runway be granted by the government.