Taxi rank move rage

Lancaster taxi drivers, Yony Wilson, Steve Fox, Shane Wainwright, Neil Callan, Paul Taylor, Bill Riley and Andy Kay (front centre), in Dalton Square, where the new taxi rank is proposed.
Lancaster taxi drivers, Yony Wilson, Steve Fox, Shane Wainwright, Neil Callan, Paul Taylor, Bill Riley and Andy Kay (front centre), in Dalton Square, where the new taxi rank is proposed.

Taxi drivers, passengers and local businesses have slammed a decision to move Lancaster’s main taxi rank to Dalton Square.

The rank will move from Damside Street next to Lancaster Bus Station in February for around two years while United Utilities carries out sewer work.

Hackney carriage drivers had called for the rank to be relocated to Church Street and this summer branded proposals to move it to the steep and cobbled New Road as ridiculous.

But they are equally unimpressed by Lancaster City Council’s choice of Dalton Square, saying it will cost them dear.

It is understood that the move will see nine taxi bays created on the cobbled road alongside the walled garden between Palatine Hall and the Dalton Square GP surgery where there are currently double yellow lines.

Thirty-four parking spaces just across the road, some of which are used by disabled people and two of which are reserved for GPs, will be 
retained. Drivers, businesses and taxi passengers have all raised serious concerns,


including fears over the accessibility of Dalton Square for disabled and elderly passengers.

Other concerns include loss of income for drivers because the rank would be outside the one-way system and no longer close to the bus station.

Some businesses in Dalton Square also fear that they would lose custom because people would find it difficult to park so close to the taxis.

And parents with pushchairs catching taxis from the existing bus station rank said they would struggle to make their way up to Dalton Square.

Mark Cullinan, Lancaster City Council’s chief executive, added: “The relocation of the taxi rank from the bus station is necessary due to the essential improvement works to Lancaster’s sewer system.

“Talks have taken place between the city council (as the licensing authority) and Lancashire County Council (as the highways authority), to identify a suitable location which takes into account the needs of not only the taxi trade but also customers, pedestrians and to ensure highway safety.

“Dalton Square is the most suitable location taking into account all of the factors.

“Members of the local Hackney taxi trade have been kept informed during the process to identify a temporary rank and have been offered the opportunity to personally discuss any issues it may raise.”