Haymarket taxi rank to be scrapped over queue row

Taxis queueing next to Haymarket Station often end up outside the designated rank area. Picture: Greg Macvean
Taxis queueing next to Haymarket Station often end up outside the designated rank area. Picture: Greg Macvean
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The taxi rank outside ­Haymarket is to be scrapped following ongoing problems with vehicles queuing past their boundaries.

It is understood that the ­current rank outside the station will be switched to a drop-off only area in the coming weeks, with the station due to be fully reopened on December 19, and new ranks expected will be ­created nearby.

The change follows a recent road safety initiative carried out by the police which highlighted the taxi rank as a concern, with Pc Stephen Kirk, who led the two-week campaign, describing the road outside Haymarket as “to my mind, the area where cyclists are most in danger of being seriously injured”. And taxi chiefs admitted drivers had been repeatedly warned not to queue up behind the ­designated rank, and ­welcomed ­proposals to create two alternate ranks nearby.

The current area can only accommodate three vehicles at a time, and it is understood the new ranks will provide space for as many as 16 taxis.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The area in front of the station has been reduced in size by the tram project and cannot now support both a taxi rank and a passenger drop-off. The land currently used by taxis is not an official rank and sits on Network Rail property.

“We believe that a station drop-off is a priority, particularly for those with restricted mobility so they have easy access to Haymarket. These changes will come into affect mid-December.”

Central Taxis boss Tony Kenmuir welcomed the move, describing the council’s approch to collaboration on a solution as “impressive”.

Mr Kenmuir, who has been involved in discussions with the council and Network Rail about the problem, added: “Over-ranking there has got out of hand to the point where the junction is dangerous and taxis and the public cannot drop off. The stance was too short but we have to accept some responsibility within the trade for this action. Ranking back past Ryrie’s has drawn too much attention and the officials were never going to allow that to continue.”

The area on Haymarket Terrace outside the Tune Hotel and Dalry Road have been suggested as possible replacement ranks. An extension of the three-vehicle rank on Rosebery Crescent is also under consideration, though a spokeswoman for the city council stressed that the consultation process is ongoing.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport convener, said: “We recognise there are real challenges around the Haymarket Station taxi rank, with unacceptable behaviour from some taxi drivers slicing the double yellow lines and causing a dangerous obstruction.

“We’re in consultation with the taxi trade to identify suitable alternative facilities. Specific details of these alternative sites will only be confirmed and finalised once the consultation process is complete.

“We’ve been monitoring the area around Haymarket ­Station closely since it came back into public use and are actively addressing the concerns voiced by road users.”