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IN THE NEWS


CABBIES’ FEARS OVER CORNWALL COUNCIL’S EXPERIMENTAL ROAD TRAFFIC ORDER FOR ‘QUIET LANES’


Taxi drivers are calling for Cornwall Council to rethink a pro- posed experiment to keep traffic off back lanes into Truro. Truro Voice reports that the initiative - called ‘Quiet Lanes’ - would allow only cyclists, walkers, residents, delivery vehicles and emergency services to use the country roads into the city. But taxi drivers say it will add time and money to their journeys. The Truro Taxi Proprietors’ Association says if the Experi- mental Road Traffic Order (ETRO) for ‘Quiet Lanes’ goes ahead, it should be amended to include taxis so they can keep using the most efficient route for customers. Backed by former Truro Mayor, Bert Biscoe, members are in the process of writing to council officers to explain that in most cases taxis tend to transport people who have no access to personal vehicles, or are elderly, infirm, unwell or on low income. They say they take customers to timed appointments, which if missed, can lead to disrupted treatment, lost consultations and potential further risk to health and employment. The letter says: “We are able to show if the ETRO continues


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to exclude taxis, the impact on fares could in all cases increase, and in some cases increase by as much as fivefold, with extra journey time and mileage. “We believe the ETRO could be a cause of discriminatory impacts on vulnerable people.” Joy Arnold is the chairperson of the association. She said: “I’ve tried to tell the council how valuable information is from taxi drivers who are out there using the roads all the time and seeing things that people sitting in offices don’t see. “This Quiet Lanes experiment would mean making some journeys a lot longer when we’re supposed to able to take our customers on the quickest route. And how are they going to enforce it? “We already have a lack of taxi drivers - it’s seen as a dangerous job when there is covid to consider and there isn’t an hourly wage, drivers are self-employed. People are just trying to earn an honest living and this would make that a lot harder and disadvantage a lot of people. “We used to have forums and keep in touch but now it’s all remote. We’ve been getting a little bit more interaction recent- ly but it feels like it depends on which way the wind is blowing. “We want to be recognised as being part of the public transport system and listened to.” Other members of the association say stopping the short cuts will be “disastrous for traffic in and out of Truro”. The owner of Spikes Taxis said: “Cornwall has thousands of miles of back lanes which we sometimes use to save time and money.” Andy Darroch, of Andy’s Cabs, said: “I very often use those back lanes from Coosebean, Shortlanesend, Treliske Lane and Penventinnie Lane. “There have been times when it has been almost impossible to get off the hospital grounds via the main road and the back lanes are the only viable alternative. “Far from closing those roads, they need to expand them or supplement them. The more choices of direction people have, the quicker the traffic will disperse. “The quicker the traffic disperses, the less pollution we’ll have to suffer and the better our carbon footprint.” And Dan MacLachlan, from A2B Transport Services, added: “On average, we would probably do between 30-40 trips per day down this route, and even more if the A30 is busy or there is a high demand at Treliske. “A lot of school jobs for the council also use this route. If this was blocked, the cost to the council and taxpayer would also increase to take into account the long and circuitous route we’d all have to take. “Considering once the dualisation of the A30 has been completed, the vast majority of motorists will use the new road, with a failsafe of the existing road for local traffic.”


SEPTEMBER 2021


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