Edinburgh taxi boss warns rail chiefs against pick-up charges at revamped Waverley

Taxis queue to go through a set of two barriers. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
Taxis queue to go through a set of two barriers. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
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A TAXI boss has warned rail chiefs against trying to charge cabs for picking up passengers at the revamped Waverley 
station.

He said most taxis would refuse to pay any levy which Network Rail tried to impose for using the Capital’s main train station if proposals for a massive redevelopment of the site go 
ahead.

A draft masterplan unveiled last month does not include much detail about taxi arrangements in the new layout, though one option is to create a street-level rank off Market Street by building up land within the current New Street car park.

Tony Kenmuir, of Central Taxis, said another idea floated was to use a ramp from Market Street down into the New Street car park.

The Calton Road entrance is also expected to become busier as part of the revamp.

Mr Kenmuir said he had an open mind about the proposals, but voiced fears a new rank could be on the “wrong side” of the station.

He said: “Most people when they come out of Waverley are heading north, south or west. If someone gets off the train and the taxi pulls out of New Street, we would have to drive around it – people could be in the taxi for five or ten minutes with £6 on the meter and still be looking at Waverley 
station.”

And he said he had made clear his company would not be paying to use any 
rank.

“If the project is a wheeze to try and take money off the taxi trade, I don’t see why we would drop people off, drive empty to the wrong side of the station and pay for the privilege of getting in.

“I don’t charge them for delivering passengers to them. Why should they charge me for picking them up? We pay our licence for the privilege of picking up anywhere in the licensing area.

“Some taxi drivers individually might decide to pay but the majority will not.”

The taxi rank inside the station was removed in 2014, causing an outcry from disabled people and others who said the move made access more 
difficult.

Mr Kenmuir said: “They kicked us out of the station and said it was for security reasons. Now they apparently want to let us back in, but charge us for it.

“I think we’ve got wise to that. We will not be paying them.”

Network Rail said no decision had been made on the issue of charging taxis.

A spokesman said: “We have not gone into that level of detail yet.

“But it is pretty standard now for taxis to pay a charge for pick-ups when they are using ranks in stations or 
airports.”

There is a public exhibition of the masterplan proposals on the station concourse until Friday, April 26.