A MAJOR new taxi rank could be set up for rail passengers at the rear entrance to Waverley following the controversial ban on cabs entering the station.
A drop-off area has already been established at the Calton Road site, which passengers requiring assistance are encouraged to use.
And taxi bosses said discussions were under way on changes to the road network nearby to make it viable for cabs to operate from there.
Tony Kenmuir, of the Scottish Taxi Federation, said: “There has been some speculation that Calton Road might be a really good option for a major taxi rank. It’s a really quiet road and there’s lots of space for taxis.
“The problem is that leaving there you can only turn left on to Leith Street, which takes you inevitably to Princes Street and past the rank there, so you have several minutes’ drive to get people to another point where they could have got a taxi.
“If you could turn right into Leith Street and go down Leith Walk it would be ideal for serving the north and east of the city.”
He said there needed to be a new junction created as part of the new St James Quarter redevelopment which would allow a right turn. The matter was being discussed, he added.
Conservative city centre councillor Joanna Mowat backed the idea of a Calton Road taxi rank, saying it would provide a covered pick-up and drop-off point for passengers which was currently sadly lacking.
She said: “Even if you can get right next to the station entrance in Market Street, you’re still grappling with your luggage in the rain. Calton Road is the entrance you’re meant to use for disabled people and you can ring for assistance, but one of the complaints is it’s so quiet they can feel quite vulnerable while they are waiting for someone to come.
“So there would be an advantage in making that entrance busier
“There is the issue with Leith Street, but we are about to do a major redevelopment and there is going to be a huge amount of work going on. The whole of Leith Street is up for huge change. It would seem stupid not to consider that.”
Transport convener Lesley Hinds said the current plan was for a number of ranks around the station, including Waverley Bridge, Market Street and even on Princes Street at the top of Waverley Steps as well as Calton Road.
She said: “Quite a number of people use the Calton Road exit.
“It’s an easy place to drop off and pick up. We are looking at the possibility of a taxi rank there.
“It would not be the main option, it would be one option for people coming from that part of the city.”
Network Rail banned taxis from entering Waverley station a year ago, citing passenger and pedestrian safety. But there are ongoing complaints and the Scottish Parliament’s infrastructure committee is currently holding an inquiry into poor station access.