STATION bosses sparked fury today as they slashed the number of taxis allowed into Waverley and told passengers to walk to the street to catch a cab.
Taxi permits for the Capital’s main railway station are being cut from 200 to 100 in a move which rail chiefs say should help tackle the congestion caused by new anti-terrorism barriers.
But city transport convener Lesley Hinds said passengers with heavy luggage, elderly people and parents with small children and buggies could not be expected to walk up to Waverley Bridge to find a taxi.
And she said she was seeking an urgent meeting with Network Rail.
The new security measures at the station have caused traffic chaos around Waverley Bridge. Cabs are held up as they are forced to negotiate two barriers one by one, resulting in long queues.
Network Rail said reducing the number of vehicles will stop tailbacks – often spanning the full length of the 250ft ramp.
The company insisted there should still be enough taxis to meet demand. A spokesman said: “A majority of people should be capable of getting a taxi at street level at the rank on Waverley Bridge.”
But one taxi driver, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s not the cars that are an issue, it’s the barriers. The whole thing is a shambles.
“If they reduce the number of permits and cars going into the station, how are they going to service their customers? Bearing in mind that a week tomorrow you have got England here for the Calcutta Cup, they’ll have a queue of thousands and that’s just the test run before the Festival’s on.”
Councillor Hinds said there were no lifts to Waverley Bridge, meaning the ramp was the only way for people to reach the taxi rank there.
She said: “It’s not an option for a lot of people to walk up there. You have people with suitcases, children and buggies, and elderly people.”
And she questioned what effect the reduction in permits would have. “Does it mean massive queues of people to get a taxi, which we have had in the past?”
She said there were plans for a taxi rank at Market Street but Network Rail had introduced the new measures before that was in place. She said: “This should all be about people who live and work in this city and people coming to visit getting the best possible service. I’m asking for an urgent meeting with Network Rail to see how we take this forward.”