Fears for safety at taxi rank

Taxi drivers protest in Dalton Square on Friday.

Taxi drivers protest in Dalton Square on Friday.

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A demonstration was held in Dalton Square last week in protest against a“ridiculous” decision to move the city’s taxi rank there.

Hackney cab drivers have reacted with frustration and anger after the county council decided to relocate the rank for two years while sewer works take place at the bus station.

Drivers say there have been five collisions on the cobbled area of Dalton Square in less than a week, and fares have plummeted because “no-one wants to get a taxi from Dalton Square”.

They also say that no risk assessment has been carried out for the new rank, and that the signage is inadequate.

Taxi driver Kevin Chamberlain said: “There just aren’t enough spaces there and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.

“They’ve put us in totally the wrong place.

“Everyone in the trade is in agreement that we should have been moved somewhere closer to the bus station.

“Enough is enough, the whole thing is just ridiculous.”

Ward coun Dave Brookes said: “We’ve struggled to find another site that’s suitable. “It’s very difficult, but if what is there is dangerous, then county would be wise to think again.”

Coun Jonathan Dixon, who was at the demonstration on Friday to talk to drivers said: “It’s very chaotic.

“There’s a problem here that the county and city councils need to look at.”

Mr Chamberlain said the company he is part of, OneACab, had rented the Butterfield Street car park near the bus station, so that his disabled passengers could still get a taxi there. But the city council said the move would need planning permission before it considered whether it should be designated as a rank, and has asked the company to move back to Dalton Square.

Taxi driver John Aldred said: “They should have moved us to Church Street in the first place.

“We’ve had nothing but problems with the city council’s licensing department for the last three years, it’s time something was done.”