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RANK RUMBLINGS


PORT TALBOT TAXI DRIVERS ABUSED BECAUSE THEY CAN’T PARK IN THEIR RANK


Taxi drivers in Port Talbot claim they are experiencing road rage abuse because peo- ple keep parking on the rank, forcing them into the middle of the road. According to WalesOnLine, drivers said their problems started a year ago when their rank was moved from a lane just of Station Road to the main road. During the day, there is a designated taxi rank for three or four taxis in Station Road. After 6pm, the whole road becomes a taxi rank. Neil Rigdon, of Neil’s Taxi, regularly uses the rank and said he’d had enough of the con- stant abuse. He said: “People are pulling into the rank so we can’t get on it and we’re having to put our hazard lights on and stop in the middle of the road until a space becomes available. “When somebody comes back to their car, we have to reverse, let them out and then we can move into their space. “People are fed up that we are stopped in


the middle of Station Road, but so are we. We get people regularly swearing at us and beeping at us.” But he said an incident that happened on October 4 had been the final straw for him. He said: “Someone was arguing with me through my window so I got out to explain I had nowhere to go, I couldn’t help it. He put his car into reverse as if he was going to drive into me, to intimidate me.


BARROWCABBIE SPEAKS OUT ABOUT TAXI RANK NIGHTMARE


A taxi driver has spoken out about the prob- lem of people parking in taxi ranks across Barrow which he says has spiralled out of control. Craig Tyson, who has been a cabbie for nine years, says the issue has now become a seri- ous health and safety concern as people are being forced to go into the road to order to access taxis. Dozens of other Barrow taxi drivers are also frustrated and have had enough. Craig said: “We pay £239 a year for the privilege of having these taxi ranks but we are getting nothing out of it. “We have been trying to speak to the coun- cil about this issue for the last three years but nothing has changed. When we ask members of the public to move out of the taxi ranks they refuse to budge and some are even giving us abuse. “This has been going on for years and it is just getting harder and harder. Now we have the added pressure of the abuse. We don’t want to get shouted at. “At night time, when it’s really bad, I have seen some near misses where people are almost getting run over because they are getting into taxis in the middle of the road because cars have filled up the taxi rank. “We need a bigger sign to make people aware it is a taxi rank they are parking in.


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“A lot of drivers are too scared to go to the rank and we shouldn’t have to feel nervous to go and do our job. You say to someone nicely ‘this is a taxi rank, you can’t park here’ and I can’t tell you some of the language we get back.” He said the abuse felt particularly demoral- ising at a time when many taxi drivers were struggling to get customers. “Before lockdown, a few of us taxi drivers had a meeting with the council and they agreed to get a van out to monitor and fine people, and they did, but I haven’t seen it around since. If the council has put some- thing in place, they should make sure it works for us.” A second taxi driver, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed one angry driver tried to punch him for being in the middle of the road on Saturday evening, September 26. According to South Wales Police, the force has increased patrols in the area.


RANK INSTALLED AT HUNGERFORD STATION


Cornwallis Street taxi rank has been cut in half to appease the public. “The council have told us previously that it is down to lack of funds and cutbacks in staff, but that is not a good enough excuse.” Parking officers patrol the areas between 9am and 5pm to try and restrict this behaviour, but outside these hours the issue is said to be a police matter. A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “The council is aware of this issue and will increase patrols of taxi ranks during working hours to monitor the situation and take enforcement action against any and all vehicles parked illegally.”


According to Newbury Today, a new taxi rank will soon be installed outside Hunger- ford train station. The news that taxi drivers “had been waiting a long time for” was con- firmed at a recent town council meeting. The new taxi rank will be located just in front of the cycle racks outside the front of the station. Town council chairwoman Helen Simpson questioned whether there was a need for a rank at the station when there was already one in the High Street. It was explained that the one at the station will be managed by Great Western Railway, the one in the High Street is managed by West Berkshire Council. Cllr Rob Chicken said: “I told a taxi driver today and he was over the moon. I under- stand they have always wanted one at the station. The problem is they haven’t got anywhere that they can park at any time. The taxi rank under the railway bridge is for deliveries only from 7am to 11am. But the signage is terrible and truck drivers come and try to deliver and you find there is abu- sive language. “Nobody should have to put up with that sort of abuse in their working life.” Cllr Richard Hudson said: “It’s always been a problem taxi drivers collecting people from the train getting stuck in traffic. It’s going to be really useful having it there.”


NOVEMBER 2020


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