Nostalgia: Taxi for Edinburgh

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IF they could speak, the city’s taxis would have more than a few juicy tales to tell.

A long-held tradition in Edinburgh, the black cabs that travel across the Capital are a reliable mode of transport for locals, as well as an exciting novelty for many of the thousands of tourists who pour into our streets every year.

Bob Smith decorated his black taxi in tartan during the Festival in 1987. Picture: TSPL

Bob Smith decorated his black taxi in tartan during the Festival in 1987. Picture: TSPL

News this week that fewer taxis are to be allowed into the revamped Waverley Station met a mixed response, with rail bosses also planning to introduce electronic barriers.

In line with Home Office anti-terror policy, the number of permits allowing taxis to collect passengers from the station is to be more than halved from 27 to a dozen. Barriers will also limit the number of taxis entering the station.

Cabbies without permits will have to drop off and collect passengers from either Market Street or New Street.

It is a far cry from the days when traffic caused relatively little controversy in Edinburgh, and dealing with the threat of terrorism in our railway stations would have been far from a priority.

Edinburgh taxi drivers' outing on Princes Street in June 1979

Edinburgh taxi drivers' outing on Princes Street in June 1979

Such was the case back in May 1962 when Hibs players packed themselves into black cabs to make their way from Turnhouse airport after a tour of Czechoslovakia.

There is usually nothing but smiles on the faces of taxi drivers, and their passengers when they take to the streets of the city for the annual Children’s Outing. A long-held tradition, youngsters with additional needs are treated to an exciting day out in a procession of taxi cabs decorated especially for them.

As pictured here, in June 1979 more than 200 cabs took children to Gullane for the day, drawing attention from onlookers the length of Princes Street.