DISABILITY campaigners frustrated at delays over a new taxi rank for Waverley station have come up with ideas to improve access in the short term.
Plans for a new pick-up point in the New Street car park adjoining the station have been put on hold because of repairs needed to North Bridge overhead and potential other long-term uses for the site.
Now Conservative Lothians MSP Miles Briggs is organising a summit to discuss what can be done to help elderly and disabled people who have highlighted problems getting in and out of Waverley since taxis and other vehicles were banned in 2014.
Robin Wickes, of the Edinburgh Access Panel, said measures which could help included allowing taxis to use the north ramp from Waverley Bridge into the station, boosting the personal assistance service inside the station and introducing buggies.
He said: “We want to make sure the taxi rank issues are still high on the agenda, so we welcome the idea of this summit.
“We would like to think about the north ramp as a possibility and we would like to continue to think about New Street car park – but not if it’s going to take five years to implement.
“Given there is going to be a delay we would like them to identify some short-term improvements to the service to provide more seamless support all the way from the train to the taxi and vice versa. That would probably mean recruiting more personal assistance staff.
“And we would like to see them providing things like buggies to help people with mobility difficulties from the Calton Road drop-off point to the trains.”
Mr Wickes also voiced concerns about whether the existing taxi rank at Market Street was under threat because of the North Bridge repairs.
Mr Briggs said the summit would bring together the Access Panel, Network Rail, Lothian MSPs and other stakeholders.
And he said he would invite Transport Minister Humza Yousaf. “I am clear, given his previous support for the Access Panel’s desire for better access arrangements and his strong public commitment to the Scottish Government’s accessible transport framework, that he has a ministerial responsibility to help my constituents and ensure vulnerable transport users are able to achieve a better outcome at Waverley Station which is an important national transport hub.
“The Access Panel have positive ideas for a number of practical short term improvements that would make a difference.”
A Network Rail spokesman said over £50m had been invested in improving access and refurbishing passenger facilities at Waverley since 2009 with step-free and lift access having been created off the Waverley Steps, Calton Road and Market Street entrances.
He said: “We will continue to work closely with partner agencies and the city council to seek long and short-term ways to improve access arrangements for our passengers.”