Swap on the cards for resort taxi rank and disabled bays

The taxi rank (left) could be swapping places with the disabled bays opposite.
The taxi rank (left) could be swapping places with the disabled bays opposite.
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Taxi drivers in Morecambe could be left with fewer spaces on a town centre rank if council plans to change the road layout go ahead.

Consultation is to be held into proposals to swap the taxi rank outside the Arndale Centre in Market Street with the disabled bays across the road outside the Post Office.

Lancaster City Council’s licensing committee members have agreed the scheme should be discussed further.

It has been proposed as part of the Morecambe Area Action Plan.

A report to the committee said the new layout would enable taxi passengers to alight directly onto the pavement, and drivers to readily turn round a new turning facility in Market Street and pick up close by the Arndale Centre entrance.

The proposal would benefit disabled drivers, and the measures would help make it possible to free up traffic space to the north, narrow the carriageway and make a much better and safer pedestrian environment.

The proposed changes at the specified sites would affect existing parking restrictions and the County Highways Authority would therefore be requested to implement procedures to create appropriate Traffic Regulation Orders following the outcome of the required consultation process.

As part of the plans, the eight existing taxi bays and four feeder bays from the east side of Market Street would be removed and instead a 35 metre bay for six taxis would be provided along the west side of Market Street.

However, Morecambe taxi driver David Hodgson said the proposals were unworkable.

He said: “The big problem with the proposal is that the number of spaces would be reduced.

“We go where the public want us and that is Market Street, but there’s not enough parking spaces already for us there.

“We are then getting fined £400 if we park on the yellow lines while we queue to get onto the rank.

“But if a private driver parks on the rank they only get fined £35.

“For some of the taxi drivers, £400 might be two or three weeks’ earnings.

“They have been talking about what to do with Market Street for the last 10 years and they haven’t come up with a workable plan yet.”

The news comes after 70 disabled drivers were fined for accidentally parking in a temporary no parking zone in Market Street.

The fines were eventually rescinded after a Visitor story highlighted the issue.