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Taxi changes split opinion in Durham
A NEW taxi regime aimed at improving Durham city centre has split opinion – pleasing residents while infuriating cabbies.
As of Friday night (October 26), Durham County Council closed Claypath’s night-time taxi rank, replacing it with a rank on the slip road to the Prince Bishops shopping centre entrance.
John Ashby, who lives in the Claypath area, said the new system had worked absolutely fine.
“Nobody tried to park in the area that had been a taxi rank. Inevitably some taxis drove up Claypath, but there wasn’t the noise.
“After a long period of appearing not to get anywhere, the authorities have taken a grip – and thank goodness.
“If it carries on like this, we’d be happy. It’s the solution,” Mr Ashby said.
However, Adrian Fets, of STL Cabs, said it had been an absolute disaster.
Taxis queued onto the dual carriageway New Elvet as far as its junction with Old Elvet while would-be passengers, unaware of the changes, waited in vain on Claypath, he said.
“It was a zoo. Somebody’s going to be killed. They’re not improving the situation – they’re making it worse,” Mr Fets said.
He also questioned who would pay for the extra resources put into policing the new system.
Paul Anderson, neighbourhood inspector for Durham, said it had gone quite well, considering it was the first weekend.
“There were queues, but they were moving fairly quickly. There weren’t many punters queuing for taxis.
“The main issue we had was with taxi drivers themselves trying to flout the rules.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get a perfect solution because of the layout of Durham City. But we’re working with the council to get it right.”
Owen Cleugh, consumer protection manager at the council, said: “We expect these changes to take a few weeks to become established and we hope that with the cooperation, help and support of the taxi trade and the travelling public that these measures will work effectively.”
The council deregulated the taxi trade last year, leading to hundreds of cabs competing for trade in the city centre and noisy queues up Claypath and into Gilesgate into the early hours.
The new arrangements have been introduced on a six-month trial. To comment, email: email@example.com