Rail chiefs blasted for lack of talks on taxi ban U-turn
DISABILITY groups have welcomed the move to reverse the taxi ban at Waverley but warned rail chiefs there were more faults to be ironed out before the station was up to scratch.
Campaigners said Network Rail was right to back down over the planned total vehicle ban later this year, however they slammed the company for not involving them in recent talks.
Taxi firms also said they had not been consulted on any recent proposals, which they said would lead to obvious faults being identified later.
As the Evening News revealed yesterday, a reduced number of black cabs and disability-adapted minibuses vetted for security clearance will be allowed into the transport hub from January.
Early proposals include vehicles being scanned by number plate recognition software at one barrier, before drivers’ identities are checked at a second.
Edinburgh disability group Ecas was among those not involved in the decision.
Chief executive David Griffiths said: “It is encouraging to see there will be some access for those in taxis and adapted minibuses. However, Network Rail say they consulted with disability groups but no-one in my organisation, or Equalities Transport Advisory Group or South East Scotland Transport Partnership has been told about this.
“Because of that it means we haven’t been able to offer any input. We only found out about this in the Evening News.”
Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, said: “This is good news for drivers and makes sure disabled passengers can get to the station without hassle.
“There are still a lot of details to be worked out though. We don’t know how they will get in with all the barriers and how many will be allowed in the rank. There could easily be gridlock.”
Rates for accessing the station have recently increased to £466 every three months, which drivers said should not be used to fund the changes.
Bob Smith, 47, a cabbie from Kirkliston, said: “Network Rail should be paying for us to drop people off and pick up their passengers. This is all business for them we’re bringing in.”
A spokesman for the Edinburgh Licensed Taxi Partnership said: “We will continue to follow matters with interest, but are disappointed that the taxi trade has yet to have any meaningful input into the deliberations by Network Rail.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said the firm was already contacting organisations to consult on the changes.
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