Waverley barriers still causing chaos

Taxis have faces a series of problems with the new Waverley Station barriers. Picture: Greg Macvean
Taxis have faces a series of problems with the new Waverley Station barriers. Picture: Greg Macvean
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ANTI-terror barriers at Waverley Station are still causing problems weeks after council bosses ordered rail chiefs to “sort it out or else”.

Several taxi drivers have had their vehicles damaged as they pass through the £1 million security system – with one cab being left with its rear wheels spinning in the air after a low-level barrier engaged.

It is understood a passenger was travelling in the taxi, which suffered considerable damage and had to be taken away on the back of a lorry.

Cabbies, who pay up to £1800 a year for a permit to enter the station, were also left speechless after a fault again led to the barriers being left open for anyone to enter and exit.

City transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds today said it was clear that the security measures were “fundamentally flawed”.

Central Taxis boss Tony Kenmuir said: “There were a number of evenings last week when the barriers were left open. Network Rail obviously thought that terrorists had taken the night off.

“There has also been a problem with taxis being lifted off the ground by the barrier. It’s a drum which rolls up out of the ground but there seems to be a major issue with it.

“One guy had someone in the back and ended up with his cab seriously damaged.”

Around 100 cabbies have a permit to enter the station through the controversial barriers, set up at the vehicle entrance on Waverley Bridge.

Network Rail said the ongoing issues were “under review” – but insisted that “the only credible alternative would be to close the station to all vehicles”, a move originally floated back in February 2012 to deal with terror threat fears ahead of the Olympics.

However, the barriers have been blamed for causing traffic chaos in the area with cabs being held up while they wait to pass through one by one.

A long-running spat between rail chiefs and the city council has seen Waverley bosses slammed for installing the automatic barriers without adequate warning, while Councillor Hinds raised fears pedestrians could be put at risk.

Council workmen will begin installing a zebra crossing at nearby Market Street in the coming weeks with additional taxi ranks also opened at Waverley Bridge, Calton Road and Market Street.

Councillor Hinds said: “It’s plain to see that these barriers are fundamentally flawed from a security perspective since they don’t seem to work properly.

“We are also awaiting clear plans from Network Rail outlining how they’ll manage access once our planned streetscape improvements have been completed – with increased pedestrian space on Waverley Bridge, it simply won’t be feasible or safe to have queues of taxis backing up on to the carriageway.

“We are meeting representatives of the taxi trade later this week and will invite them to share their concerns.”