Taxi drivers to fight council's plans to drive them off rank at Horsefair bus station
Story by: ELAINE KING TAXI drivers in Wisbech have vowed to fight plans to drive them off their rank at the town s bus station. Fenland District Council is looking at plans to move the rank from the Horsefair area to a site near The Case pub, which is cur
Story by: ELAINE KING
TAXI drivers in Wisbech have vowed to fight plans to drive them off their rank at the town's bus station.
Fenland District Council is looking at plans to move the rank from the Horsefair area to a site near The Case pub, which is currently used as car park.
But taxi drivers claim that the proposed new rank - expected to accommodate fewer taxis - could lead to accidents, job losses, and a reduced service for fare paying customers.
The council has said that no decision has been made at this stage. It's licensing committee will consider the plans at a meeting tomorrow (Friday).
Dave Patrick, chairman of the Wisbech and District Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, said: "We want to stay where we are, the Horsefair is the hub of everything, with buses and shops.
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"We rejected the idea at a crisis meeting last week, and we will be meeting again to discuss the proposal."
The news plans show six pick-up bays and three drop-off bays, with a three vehicle holding area in Canal Street. The Horsefair rank accommodates three taxis, but more than a dozen more vehicles can use the holding area.
Mr Patrick, who runs Acme Cabs, said: "Fenland District Council say there is a public safety issue at The Horsefair, but there is a safety railing all the way from the shops to the rank; the new plans could lead to customers alighting in the path of other taxis arriving at the rank.
"I hope that residents who also oppose the plans contact their councillor, or the licensing staff at Fenland District Council."
Other taxi drivers to speak out against the plan include Mick Lawrence of Bevs Taxis. He said: "It will be difficult for older clients to walk from the Horsefair to The Case with their shopping.
"Also, it will be awkward for customers late at night, faced with people standing outside the pub drinking."
Andrew Martin of Fenland Taxis fears that the reduced size of the proposed rank could lead to the loss of jobs. "I think taxi firms will lose business, and some single drivers will consider giving up altogether."
At Ace Taxis, James Plumb said: "We plan to fight this proposal; we want to stay where we are."
Manager of The Case, Wendy Hayward, also opposes the re-siting. "It is totally impractical," she said. "I am going to end up policing it; it is going to be a headache.
You are going to get a lot of drunk people in one place."
A spokesman from Fenland District Council said: "We're currently asking local licensed drivers for their views on a range of different proposals on the future of taxis in Fenland.
"One part of this consultation is talking to drivers and getting their views on a taxi rank in Wisbech. No decision has been made. Every licensed driver in Fenland has received a copy of the proposals and if they have comments, ideas or suggestions then we'd like to hear from them as soon as possible.