Edinburgh parking: Disabled bays in South Queensferry suspended so taxis can pick up cruise ship passengers
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Disabled drivers are being ousted from their parking bays so taxis can pick up cruise ship passengers.
Reserved disabled spaces close to Hawes Pier, at the east end of the front in South Queensferry, in the shadow of the Forth Bridge, are suspended for most of the day whenever visiting cruise ships send their passengers ashore there. And Lothian Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour has accused council chiefs of prioritising the convenience of wealthy tourists over the needs of disabled people.
He said: "I understand they need to park taxis somewhere, but why are they using the disabled parking spaces? Cruise ships are good for the economy and we want them to come but there must be other places taxis can park."
Signs near the bays say the spaces will not be available between 5am and 8pm on days when cruise liners are anchored nearby. Mr Balfour said: "I had a disabled constituent contact me to say she went down there, she tried to park her car because she wanted to go and have an ice cream or something and she just couldn't get parked because the disabled bays were gone.
"Disabled people need to be encouraged to go out and about and when you take away their spaces it's giving a message that you're not as important as other people - and I think that's the wrong message for te council to be giving. And yet again people who find it difficult anyway having their lives made even more difficult.
"The council could have decided to use general spaces for the taxis instead, or they could have found somewhere else for the taxis without affecting the disability community. They have just decided to get rid of the disabled spaces, thinking no-one is going to be concerned."
The council defended the situation, saying there were four disabled parking spaces at the other end of the car park on the front. Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “We want to make sure people of all abilities can access South Queensferry which is why we’ve retained disabled parking bays 24/7 at the west end of Newhalls Road. Blue badge holders can also park free of charge on single and double yellow lines at all times. We have introduced these changes to allow less mobile visitors to easily access public transport options and to ensure the safe and secure movement of passengers and vehicles at very busy times. This is on a select number of days throughout the year, however we’ll keep the situation under review.”