Waverley station to get taxi barriers

The taxi presence within Waverley will be controlled by barriers. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The taxi presence within Waverley will be controlled by barriers. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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Electronic barriers will be installed at Waverley Station next month to limit the number of taxis allowed to enter.

Rail chiefs said they were introducing the controls on black cabs as they revealed a major £130 million revamp of the station would be completed by December – six months
earlier than planned.

A canopy being built over platforms eight and nine, near Market Street, is set to be finished by July, with scaffolding to be removed across the
station by the end of the year.

New lifts are also being created at mezzanine level opposite Waverley Steps to give wheelchair users full access to the main concourse. A separate lift giving direct access to
Calton Road will be built by the end of the year.

The Waverley overhaul started in 2009 was originally due to be finished in June next year.

The replacement of 17,000 panels in the roof with clear glass to allow natural light to flood into the concourse and platforms was finished in December.

Taxi restrictions are being introduced as part of a Home Office anti-terror policy amid concerns a vehicle could be driven into a train or packed concourse.

A full ban had originally been proposed, but limited access will be maintained to cater for elderly and disabled passengers, and those with heavy luggage.

The number of permits dished out allowing taxi drivers to collect passengers from inside Waverley will also be more than halved from 27 to a dozen.

Cabbies without permits will be required to drop off fares at the New Street car park or in Market Street.

Taxi chiefs today hit out at station owner Network Rail for not discussing the plans with them.

Central Taxis secretary
Murray Fleming said: “I go to various disability representative groups and from what I can see they’ve consulted with none of the stakeholders
on this.

“The plans may well be acceptable, but without having been sent anything with regards to it we’ve not been able to comment.

“There’s a permit system in place, so this is a cash generator for Network Rail.”

Rail chiefs remain in talks with the city council about extending taxi ranks in streets around the station.

A new roundabout beneath North Bridge has also been mooted to control traffic flows to the new pick-up and drop-off bays, but the measures will not be in place when the new taxi barriers become operational.

However, road improvement works are dependent on landing £1 million funding from the UK Department of Transport.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “The council is working closely with Network Rail to finalise the details around the vehicle control system.”

A National Rail spokesman said: “We’ll have everything complete by the end of the year. That’s certainly the plan.”