Criticism of plans for ‘pick-up only’ bays at Waverley Station

Campaigners want a taxi rank inside the station. Picture; Ian Rutherford.
Campaigners want a taxi rank inside the station. Picture; Ian Rutherford.
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A NEW taxi rank has been confirmed for Edinburgh Waverley – more than two years after all vehicles were banned from the station.

Expected to open in autumn 2017, bosses said the facility would offer a sheltered location within New Street car park, around 500 metres from the station platforms.

But campaigners insisted the “pick-up only” rank was not good enough, and would do nothing to help disabled passengers.

Residents and visitors will be able to access the long-awaited rank from the station’s Market Street entrance, by staircase or lift.

Meanwhile, taxis will enter via New Street car park and join a queueing system located near the Market Street entrance.

Network Rail banned taxis from entering Waverley station in 2014, citing passenger and pedestrian safety.

But the move sparked a barrage of complaints from older and disabled people who said they now had difficulty accessing the station.

Lothian Conservative MSP Miles Briggs has been urging rail chiefs to rethink the decision, and will lead a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

He said the new rank was “welcome news” but was “only a limited improvement” as passengers could be picked up but not dropped off.

He added: “This rank will also be considerably further away from the central parts of the station compared to previous ranks so there will still be real challenges for blind, disabled and infirm travellers.

“I will be continuing to push rail bosses to look at additional and improved drop off and pick up arrangements.

“There are also questions to be answered as to why it has taken more than two years since taxi ranks were removed to come up with this limited proposal which will not be in place until towards the end of next year.

“It’s impacted on a lot of people’s independence. There is a solution there. It’s just making them see that.”

Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “We are confident that the new plans for a taxi rank within the station boundary will present a significant improvement on the current arrangements for our customers looking to hire a taxi on arrival at Waverley.

“The rank within New Street car park will be easily accessible for passengers while allowing us to maintain the strict concourse access arrangements which have helped to improve the station environment during the last three years.

“Combined with our platform extension works, the station will be better placed to meet the demands which will be put upon it by more frequent, longer trains during the course of the next five years.

“We will continue to operate a drop-off facility on Calton Road for taxis and private vehicles. Disabled passengers will be free to arrange pick-up from the new rank or from our Calton Road facility. Blue badge car parking spaces will continue to be retained within New Street car park.”