Lesley Hinds in bid to halt station taxi ban

The taxi rank at Waverley Station
The taxi rank at Waverley Station
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AN emergency bid is being launched at the City Chambers to halt plans to ban taxis and private cars from Waverley Station.

Labour’s transport spokeswoman on the city council Lesley Hinds lodged a motion at today’s transport committee calling for urgent talks with Network Rail to prevent the closure.

The Evening News revealed last week how the station would be closed to cars and taxis permanently by July in response to terror threats ahead of the London Olympics.

Network Rail says Waverley is the only major station left where private vehicles are allowed to drive under the roof.

But critics complain the action is out of proportion and that passengers will be left to haul their luggage up a steep ramp on to Waverley Bridge.

Taxi drivers say they will be left to circle and create traffic chaos.

Councillor Hinds said: “We need to balance the issue of security with accessibility.

“I don’t think any other railway station requires users to take such a steep hill, and for many this will pose an issue.

“This was a decision made without due diligence and care for people with mobility problems, and even people who have to carry large cases.

“There may be new escalators and lifts but there is an issue if you can’t stop on Princes Street to pick up or drop off people.

“The council should be saying to [Network Rail] officials that this is not acceptable.”

She added: “We’re supposed to be encouraging Edinburgh travel by rail and I do not see how this decision helps.

“I would hope the motion will get a lot of support. We do not yet know what the details are, we need to know what alternative they’ve come up with for locals and visitors alike. This whole plan does not give the city a good image.”

Les McVay, City Cabs company secretary, said he would welcome any intervention.

He said: “Edinburgh at peak times has become a theme park. There are tourists who want to get around and locals who want to get around, meaning there will be far too many people in such a small space.

“We are hoping for support that will provide the accessibility we need. At the moment, Waverley Station provides around 24 spaces for taxis, so to make this work the council will have to consider taxi ranks.”

A spokesman for Network Rail previously told the Evening News the ban was necessary and alternative arrangements were being explored.

He said: “Network Rail is required to comply with legislation to remove vehicles prior to the London Olympic Games.”