Sunday 21 July 2024
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Nottingham

Taxi drivers call for rank outside Broad Marsh bus station over fears hundreds of passengers lost

Taxi drivers are calling for a rank to be built outside the new Broad Marsh bus station over fears people are being left stranded when they arrive in the city by coach.

National Express coaches moved into the new £50m bus station and car park in June from their temporary location on Station Street.

More than 400 coach services are expected a week, but some Hackney carriage drivers say they are furious there is no rank to pick up passengers.

Drivers used to have a taxi rank in Carrington Street as part of the former bus station, which has been replaced with a pedestrianised space.

Taxi drivers said some National Express passengers have been left stranded in the city with luggage, pushchairs, and wheelchairs, unable to find the rank outside Loxley House in Trent Street.

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Nottingham City Council says it is also considering building another rank close to the station.

Chander Sood, 61, a taxi driver for more than 25 years, said: “Nottingham must be the only city in the country without a taxi rank outside a bus station.

“The bus station is now open and there is no facility for passengers carrying excessive luggage or the elderly and disabled.

“Where has the council’s brain gone? The first thing people want to see when they leave the bus station is a taxi rank. At the old bus station, the rank was very visible.”

He said ranks had already been taken away from drivers outside Ocean nightclub and the train station as well as in Traffic Street.

This also comes a time when the Labour-run authority wants around 400 of its fleet to upgrade their black cabs to low emission electric vehicles.

Drivers had to take out loans to buy the new cars, which can cost between £36,000 to £60,000, a sum some drivers have described as ‘a second mortgage’.

The council says this decision was made to improve the air quality in the city.

Mohammad Yousaf, 65, who has been a taxi driver for more than 20 years, said: “The biggest problem is people do not know where to go.”

Parmjit Purwaha, 64, a taxi driver of 20 years, said: “Trains, buses and taxis go together.  We desperately need a rank outside the Broadmarsh. We are losing business.

“We have paid lots of money for new taxis. This is the pride of Nottingham this new fleet and the council should give us a rank.”

Mohammed Majeed, 54, a taxi driver of more than 25 years, said “the public is suffering” as a result.

He said: “People are coming off the buses and so do not know where to go. It is mostly older people and people with wheelchairs. They should put a rank there.”

Mohammed Akram, 64, who has been a taxi driver for 36 years, added: “There are going to be 400 buses and the bus station is large enough to have a rank inside it or outside the main doors. It is unfair for the customer.

“You have got elderly people with wheelchairs and luggage and there is not even a sign for taxis. If you are not from Nottingham, you just don’t know where to go. It is uninviting.”

Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “We’ve been consulting and communicating with taxi drivers throughout the Broadmarsh project and continue to work collaboratively with them.

“Free drop-offs and pick-ups are available within the new car park and we’re currently looking at a longer-term taxi rank at nearby Melville Street.

“This is being delayed by construction work but we will look to implement as soon as we can.

“One of the main intentions of the wider Broadmarsh project has always been to reduce traffic in the area and switch priority towards cyclists and pedestrians. As such, there has never been a plan to introduce a rank at the car park.

“However, there remains a prominent and established rank close by in Trent Street serving both the bus and train stations, where state-of-the-art, wireless charging points are now being installed on the road for use by drivers of electric taxis – the first project of its kind in the UK.”

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