RAIL bosses have been told they must take urgent action to sort out passengers’ access to taxis at Waverley station.
A Scottish Parliament committee has written to ScotRail Alliance saying it is “essential” that taxi facilities which meet the needs of the travelling public are provided at the Capital’s main train hub.
All vehicles are now banned from entering the station and disabled groups have complained many people find it difficult to use existing taxi ranks and drop-off points.
Holyrood’s infrastructure committee has been conducting an inquiry into public access to major stations. And convener Jim Eadie, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Southern, has written to Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, calling for action.
In the letter he highlighted the problems caused by the ban on taxis inside the station.
And he continued: “The committee considers it to be esential that suitably located, accessible taxi facilities are available at Waverley which fully meet the needs of the travelling public and which minimise the disruption to surrounding road networks.”
Mr Verster told the committee when he appeared before it that plans were under way for an expanded taxi rank in Market Street.
In a letter, he said the feasibility of a taxi rank at the New Street car park entrance was being assessed.
And in June the Evening News revealed talks had taken place on creating a major new taxi rank at Calton Road, where there is already a disabled drop-off point.
ScotRail said plans were being developed for a covered waiting area for passengers there.
Mr Eadie said current provision was “not adequate or fit for purpose”. He said: “They have made a significant investment to put in lifts at either side of the station, at Market Street and Princes Street, but they are quite difficult for people who are disabled to navigate their way to and from. The escalators don’t always work and even when they are operational they are not suitable for everyone – visually impaired people with a guide dog, for instance, because you’re supposed to carry dogs on escalators.
“But they have made a commitment to go away and look at all of this again and we welcome that willingness to engage constructively and address these issues. It needs to happen urgently, though, and we will be chasing them up on that.”
The letter also called for an early indication of what action would be taken on cycle access to the station, where cyclists have to share a narrow footpath with pedestrians to get up or down the ramps from Waverley Bridge.
Mr Eadie noted that cycle campaign group Spokes had labelled the situation “dreadful” but welcomed the commitment by Mr Verster to look for improvements that could be made at either the north or the south ramp.