Black taxi drivers in Plymouth say they are losing vital income because customers don’t know where their new rank is in the city centre. Hackney drivers say no signs have been posted in Old Town Street to indicate taxis are now waiting in Cornwall Street while redevelopment work is underway.
Martin Leaves, secretary of the Plymouth Licensed Taxi Association (PLTA), said some taxi drivers had waited up to three-and-a-half hours for a fare in Cornwall Street because shoppers didn’t know they were there. He said: “Drivers are losing money. They are already struggling because of the pandemic.
Plymouth City Council admitted that due to a ‘misunderstanding’ contractor Mildren Construction failed to put up any signs. The authority apologized for the fault and promised to rectify the situation.
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A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said: ‘We have asked our contractors to put up signs advising the public where they can catch taxis and they have promised to do so immediately. It’s the second day of the shutdown and although we also made sure the public was aware through a statement and social media, we expected signs to be put up to let people know where find taxis.
“It appears there was a misunderstanding as to who was responsible for this and we can only apologize to the taxi drivers and passengers for any inconvenience caused. Security staff at the gate have now also been made aware of where to direct passengers.
A much of Plymouth town center has been fenced off for traffic as work continues on a £7million redesign of the shopping area. The second phase of the Old Town Street and New George Street improvement scheme began on Monday April 4 with the area closed to traffic but within a day Hackney drivers were saying they were losers.
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A barrier has been placed at the Old Town Street entrance and special arrangements for deliveries made with businesses so that only parking for motorcycle and bicycle deliverers is permitted in a designated parking area. Contractor Mildren Construction has written to all businesses in the area so they can arrange delivery times.
Two new taxi ranks were created prior to the Old Town Street works: in Cornwall Street/Eastlake Street north of Drake Circus; and in Whimple Street, south of St Andrew’s Cross. But the PLTA said no signage had been put up to let people know that is where the ranks can now be found.
Mr Leaves said: ‘We were promised there would be signage to divert people to the new locations. Someone has to be responsible for putting up the signs, so taxi drivers can make a living. »
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He said the Old Town Street row is the oldest in the city and has been in use for 50 years, but the new rows, each for about eight to 10 vehicles, were too far from the main stores for elderly customers can walk. He said: ‘Older people find it difficult to walk through Royal Parade to Whimple Street. Older people have to walk further.
And he said a newly created row outside the congregated Barcode restaurant on Exeter Street was problematic as it was frequently jammed with delivery vehicles, particularly after 9pm at night. During the second phase of the redevelopment of the town centre, workshops and businesses will operate normally and pedestrian access will be maintained.
Work areas are fenced off to separate operations from shopping lanes on either side. The first phase of the redesign, down New George Street from Armada Way to the House of Fraser service yard, began in late 2021.
The general idea includes creating a better link between the Drake Circus shopping center and The Barcode with features such as new green islands, places to sit and rest, a small performance area, a new tree planting and ornamental “rain garden” planting with more sustainable urban spaces. drainage. The work has been funded by the Transforming Cities Fund to the tune of £6,529,468 as the scheme also provides wide unobstructed routes, better visibility and improved signage for cyclists.
The Heart of the South West LEP also contributed £700,000.