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New taxi regime for Durham city centre
SWEEPING changes aimed at ridding a city centre of long late-night taxi queues are set to come into force on Friday.
Since Durham County Council deregulated the taxi trade last year, hundreds of cabs have been competing for trade in Durham, creating noisy queues of vehicles lasting into the early hours.
The council’s latest attempt to solve the problem will see a night-time taxi rank on Claypath closed and replaced with a rank on the slip road to the Prince Bishops shopping centre entrance. This will operate from 6pm to 8am.
The existing daytime taxi rank, on the slip road behind Clayport Library, will continue to operate from 8am to 9pm.
The Claypath area which is currently a night-time taxi rank will continue to provide loading bays and disabled parking during the day, but will now be available for general public parking after 6pm.
The new regime will come into force on a trial basis, initially for six months, under a revised Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO). During that time, council chiefs want to hear whether it is working.
The changes were first announced in September. At the time, some residents supported them, saying they would stop cabbies queuing for trade up Claypath, onto Gilesgate and beyond.
However, some taxi drivers warned they would worsen congestion, with vehicles queuing onto New Elvet Bridge.
Coun Bob Young, the council’s cabinet member for strategic environment, said the council had tried a number of approaches, none of which had alleviated the disturbance.
However, he hoped the new trial would relieve the area of the problems, provide a suitable city centre location for waiting taxis and offer a convenient rank for passengers.
He said: “I would ask taxi drivers to work with us during this six month period and to queue safely and responsibly on the new rank.
“I would also warn those thinking of ignoring the new system that we will work with our partners at Durham Constabulary to enforce the changes where necessary.”
To comment on the changes, write to: Planning and Highways Team, Legal Services, Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org