It is good to see officials cracking down on motorists who park in ranks designated for taxi drivers.
In the run-up to Christmas, Worcester City Council issued 92 fines in a month to drivers who ignored restrictions and parked in the city centre’s taxi ranks.
This not only stops public hire drivers in the city from picking up fares, it can also cause delays because while taxi drivers wait for passengers, people parking illegally at the rank often leave their vehicles and head to shops or takeaways. This means their vehicles occupy the rank longer than cabs normally would.
On the back of the pre-Christmas operation, the council has pledged to carry out more checks this year to ensure that only licensed, public hire taxi drivers with public hire insurance are using the ranks, with those who are unauthorised receiving fixed-penalty notices.
It follows complaints from taxi drivers about over-ranking and problematic parking. The city’s cabbies had called for regular patrols of the taxi ranks by penalising drivers.
The Worcester News reports that the problem often creates long queues of taxis spilling out of ranks in the city centre, including on busy routes such as Foregate Street, The Cross and Friar Street.
They point out that this creates problems for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, the emergency services and other drivers.
The council’s response to the complaints was discussed by the licensing and environmental health committee.
The News reports that Cllr Simon Cronin, who had been leading calls for extra enforcement, said the number of fines handed out to drivers was a “step in the right direction”.
He said: “I’m very pleased to see that we are now sending our [enforcement officers] out and particularly in the evening time when people think they can do this without any consequences … I’m delighted that we are enforcing these now and long may it continue.
“If we do see an upsurge in this sort of abuse, I shall be lobbying for an enhanced level of enforcement in the future.
“In the meantime, I’m really glad we have had this sort of response. It would be great to think that it brought the problem to an end, it hasn’t but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Worcester News readers largely welcomed the response, with Phil04 commenting: “I hope St John’s will be included in this crackdown. Almost every evening sees selfish drivers parking illegally whilst collecting takeaway meals.”
Duckandrun agreed, adding: “St Johns has always been like a car park at night, yellow lines are not applicable and cars regularly park actually on the crossing by King Charles Place. Never seen or heard of any action being taken in evenings and weekends, not much during the day either.”
But others pointed out that taxi drivers can also been guilty of poor parking.
Shivani reports said: “How about cracking down on the number of taxis that park illegally? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen buses having to load passengers in the road due to taxis parking in the bus stop. Not only is it dangerous for the people, but also blocks the road off for emergency vehicles. Taxis should have a three-strike rule then you’re out – no more taxi licence.”
And beerman identified another parking problem: “And also takeaway drivers blocking Lowesmoor every night.”
By keeping non-taxis out of the city centre ranks, there should be enough room to accommodate public hire drivers and prevent over-ranking and leading to taxis being parked elsewhere while they wait for fares.