An UNOFFICIAL taxi rank is causing fresh traffic chaos near Haymarket Station, leading to rush-hour gridlock on one of the city’s busiest routes.
Local residents and businesses say the traffic nightmare began when the Clifton Terrace taxi rank was taken away to make way for more tramworks.
The move has led to drivers using the corner of Haymarket Terrace and Rosebery Crescent as a stopping point to pick up and drop off passengers, clogging up already tight streets.
Giovanni Cariello, whose restaurant La Bruschetta is two doors up from the junction, said he had witnessed traffic queues stretching for hundreds of metres from St Mary’s Cathedral on Palmerston Place to Haymarket Terrace, with regular wait times of up to 20 minutes.
Services including First and Lothian Buses and the Airport Express have been diverted up Rosebery Crescent onto Palmerston Place.
Mr Cariello said: “People can’t get past and parking is unbelievable. The buses are so big and Rosebery Crescent’s not really made for buses. It’s just chaotic sometimes.
“When there’s the rugby [at Murrayfield], it’s even worse. I reckon it’s to do with the taxis, but I don’t think it’s their fault. It’s definitely the council’s fault, they’re not organised.”
A Haymarket Terrace business owner, who did not want to be named, said the slow traffic light sequence at Palmerston Place only added to the woes.
She said: “Because people are so fed up waiting in a traffic jam they start doing silly things like U-turns on a road that’s incredibly busy. How anyone’s not been killed yet, I don’t know.”
Three parking spaces have been provided on Dalry Road as an alternative for taxis.
Central Taxis director Tony Kenmuir defended his drivers, saying the rank was not visible from Haymarket Station, with no signs to direct people.
He said the number of provided spaces was far too limited, adding: “You’ll understand when a Glasgow train empties, with several hundred people on it, there are regular queues of people trying to move on, especially in the evening when they’ve got back from work.
“Passengers are pouring out of the station, some of them having come considerable distances with luggage. There’s no cover for them, it’s out in the elements, it’s February and there’s nowhere for a taxi to collect them.”
A council spokeswoman said the authority was aware of traffic issues and was liaising with taxi operators to prevent illegal stopping.
The spokeswoman said: “The majority of taxis serving the station are using the alternative rank on Dalry Road and there are no plans to relocate the taxi rank to Clifton Terrace, as this would involve disrupting the final kerb and road markings in the approach to the Haymarket junction.
“The final layout will see taxis return to the area in front of the station.”