TAXI operators have hailed a decision to reinstate a cab rank at Haymarket station’s main entrance as one expected to ease traffic congestion in the area.
Last month’s decision to close a temporary taxi rank on Clifton Terrace to make way for tramworks contributed to peak hour traffic delays at the busy spot.
Taxi drivers were using the corner of Haymarket Terrace and Rosebery Crescent as a stopping point to pick up and drop off passengers, jamming up already tight streets on a diversionary route used by First and Lothian Buses as well as the Airport Express.
Edinburgh City Council originally said there were no plans to relocate the rank to Clifton Terrace despite nearby businesses reporting subsequent traffic delays of up to 20 minutes.
But in a victory for cabbies and commuters, the council has since confirmed the rank will be reinstated in a fortnight’s time when roadway resurfacing and relining works have been completed.
In a letter, Alan Howie, departmental adviser to transport convener Lesley Hinds, said: “The temporary taxi rank at Clifton Terrace will be re-established in the next two weeks when the tram contractor has completed the planning, resurfacing and relining of this section of roadway, at which point it is the intention to relocate taxis back into this area.
“While the road markings will reflect the final Haymarket junction arrangements, and this does not include for a taxi rank, temporary traffic regulation orders will be in place such that the area can be used, as before, for taxi ranking.
“On completion of the Haymarket junction works, the taxis will be relocated back to the former area used for ranking immediately outside the station frontage.”
The council had previously provided three parking spaces on Dalry Road as an alternative for taxis, but operators had complained the stopping point was not visible from Haymarket station.
City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We have listened to taxi drivers and are pleased to be able to reinstate this temporary rank at Clifton Terrace until the Haymarket junction is finished. This location will make it easier for passengers to pick up a taxi when they arrive at Haymarket station.”
Central Taxis director Tony Kenmuir labelled the council’s about-turn as a victory for common sense.
He said: “I’m in no doubt that the interest the Evening News has taken in the situation has been a deciding factor. It makes life a lot easier for us and for the general public.”
A questionnaire on unmet demand for taxis in Edinburgh has recently been sent out to interested parties on behalf of the council.
Mr Kenmuir said he hoped the local authority would use the feedback to better integrate taxis at main transport hubs such as the Capital’s main bus station, Edinburgh Airport and Waverley station.
Alex-Cole Hamilton, former Liberal Democrat candidate in Edinburgh Central, wrote to Ms Hinds earlier this month championing the need for a more visible taxi rank at Haymarket station.
He said of the decision: “I’m glad that the council administration has finally listened to reason and woken up to the chaos at Haymarket, but the gridlock and disruption could have easily been avoided if they had allowed a taxi rank to operate in the completed tram lane directly outside the station.
“It’s what local cab drivers wanted and it’s what commuters and local residents would have preferred. I certainly hope that in the future city leaders will give ‘quick fix’ solutions like this a lot more thought before inflicting them on the community.”