'Crazy' plans to move Waverley Station taxi rank put on hold after public backlash

Proposals to move a taxi rank at Waverley Station have been put on hold after a public consultation overwhelmingly criticised the plans.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 11:21 am

Edinburgh City Council held a consultation on creating a new 10-bay taxi stance on East Market Street between the Jeffrey Street junction and The Arches – further away form the current temporary provision on Market Street. But 140 responses to the consultation, most of which were negative, have led to councillors putting the plans on hold.

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A motion by Conservative Cllr Cameron Rose, agreed by the council’s regulatory committee means alternatives and more information must be brought forward by officials in January.

The current taxi rank on Market Street outside Edinburgh Waverley station

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The council’s regulatory services manager, Andrew Mitchell told councillors “it would be fair to say that the majority of those express concerns about the proposals”.

Transport official Chris McGarvey told the committee that safety concerns with passengers having to cross a busy road could be mitigated by potentially “installing a controlled crossing” but admitted that “discussions are at quite an early stage”.

He added: “There’s a large number of construction works currently ongoing on Market Street – the area is heavily congested with works. There’s also a high volume of drop-offs, pick-ups, delivery vehicles which are generally causing a lot of congestion for all users and there’s double-parking.

“The proposal is to move the taxi rank to East Market Street to try and remove some of the risk that there is currently. I’m very aware that the consultation brought back a lot of negative comments. One of them was the distance from the station – we are proposing that it’s another 60m from its current location, so it will be 110m away. Unfortunately because of the works, there is no alternative location.

“We have looked at other positions, however, it’s just not feasible and the risk still lies there. We have previously tried to have the taxi rank under North Bridge but that caused just as many problems as the current location does.”

Following the consultation response, Cllr Rose, who previously labelled the plans “absolutely crazy” put forward an amendment pointing out no disabilities assessment has been carried out and “no exploration of other options” have been considered, such as making better use of the area under Waverley Bridge or the south side of Market Street.

He said: “It’s an extraordinary difficult knot to unravel and to solve and I don’t think there’s any ideal solution here. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a better solution.

“What we’re being asked to be here is to de-prioritise pedestrians. We’ve got something like 24 million people at the moment going through Waverley Station and it’s rising.”

He added: “We’re asking those who want a taxi to travel more than twice as far as they do at the moment. That’s not good in principle. Many of those will be at the end of a long journey with suitcases and some will be disabled. What we have here effectively is a change without any written justification for it.

“We need some sort of exploration of the other options to be considered. We need much more information. It may well be that we end up moving it along the street, but we need a bit more data.”

Cllr Max Mitchell added: “What’s on Market Street at the minute is a dog’s dinner. It’s quite bad in terms of the safety aspects for pedestrians and cyclists and frustrating for drivers of any sort of vehicle.”