by Rory Nicolson and Alena Yakushova
Network Rail have confirmed plans for the new taxi rank at the New Street car park for Edinburgh Waverley Station.
The move comes two years after taxis were banned from collecting and dropping off commuters from within the station for security reasons.
Lothians MSP Miles Briggs has been gathering support to re-open the indoor taxi rank. He launched a petition in August and is bringing the debate to Parliament on the taxi rank plans this Thursday. Speaking about the New Street Car Park Taxi Rank plans, he said:
“This is welcome news in as far as it goes but this is only a limited improvement as it is only a pick up rank and not one where passengers can be dropped off.
“This rank will also be considerably further away from the central parts of the station compared to previous ranks so there will still be real challenges for blind, disabled and infirm travelers.”
Mr Briggs has said that he looks forward to the debate on November 24th and that he hopes “MSPs from across Lothian and further afield will join [him] in putting pressure on the Scottish Government and Network Rail to make sure one of Scotland’s key transport hubs is truly accessible for all travellers including those with visual impairment and mobility issues”
Speaking to Edinburgh Evening News, Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said:
“The rank within New Street car park will be easily accessible for passengers while allowing us to maintain the strict concourse access arrangements which have helped to improve the station environment during the last three years.
“We will continue to operate a drop-off facility on Calton Road for taxis and private vehicles. Disabled passengers will be free to arrange pick-up from the new rank or from our Calton Road facility. Blue badge car parking spaces will continue to be retained within New Street car park.”
Taxi drivers have mixed opinion on the new plans. Most still think that re-opening the indoor taxi rank is the best solution.
Taxi drivers queuing outside Waverley Station on Market Street gave us their thoughts on the proposed plans.
The debate will be heard inside Parliament on the Thursday 24th November. The plans for the new taxi rank are aiming to be open by Autumn 2017.
Scotrail were asked to comment further for ENN but didn’t “have the resources to respond to student requests.”