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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:09 pm 
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Inverness taxi drivers furious after councillors approve scrapping of city centre ranks

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/ne ... tre-ranks/

Inverness taxi drivers are furious after local councillors approved proposals to do away with the Castle Wynd rank and the rank on the east side of Bridge Street.

The west side of Bridge Street will become the only rank in the city centre, accommodating four vehicles, with taxis also allowed to use the adjoining loading bay at night.

Councillors also threw out a proposal to use the far end of the High Street at Eastgate as a taxi rank at night.

They were told a petition of more than 3,500 signatures in support of keeping the Castle Wynd rank was handed in after the closing date.

Inverness Taxi Alliance chairman Andrew MacDonald said the councillors’ decisions ‘beggared belief’.

He said: “According to Scottish Government legislation, with 400 taxis in Inverness we should have rank space for one third of them, that’s 130 places. We’re left with four, and the loading bay.

“Years ago, it was decided that Bridge Street was too dangerous to have as a taxi rank and Castle Wynd was the safe option.

“You can get 28 vehicles in there at night and you can take your passengers easily east or west. With what they’re proposing, it’s complicated to take passengers east off Bridge Street. Do they want car doors opening into traffic, and drivers doing U turns across three lanes of traffic? It’s madness.”

Mr MacDonald added: “The councillors are not qualified to make these sorts of decisions. They don’t know the trade.”

Highland Council’s principal planning officer Shane Manning said there had been considerable investment in the Castle Wynd part of the city with a natural flow for pedestrians envisaged from ‘castle to kirk.’

He said: “We still have four to six months for the tender process for the Castle Wynd streetscaping works, so taxis can still use it until the construction work begins and we can continue to look at options.”

He agreed that officials would seek further solutions to the issue of a night time rank in town following the councillors’ rejection of the Eastgate proposal.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:11 pm 
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Quote:
Inverness Taxi Alliance chairman Andrew MacDonald said the councillors’ decisions ‘beggared belief’.

He said: “According to Scottish Government legislation, with 400 taxis in Inverness we should have rank space for one third of them, that’s 130 places. We’re left with four, and the loading bay.


Never heard of this before - suspect he's incorrect here. Anyone from Scotland know anything?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:16 pm 
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Quote:
Mr MacDonald added: “The councillors are not qualified to make these sorts of decisions. They don’t know the trade.”

:lol: :lol:

Funny thing is that when I see Mr MacDonald's photo I always think he's the councillor :badgrin:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:10 pm 
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Location: Stamford Britains prettiest town till SKDC ruined it
most councils won't provide rank spaces because otherwise it would take up valuable car parking spaces used by councillors and their mates

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:20 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
Anyone from Scotland know anything?

Is that a general question, or just relating to taxi licensing? :D

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:13 am 
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Free-for-all fears as council backs down on new city taxi rank

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/New ... 082018.htm

A TAXI boss has warned of a city centre free-for-all after a council decision not to establish a new rank.

Council officers were asked to provide more information about proposals for a night-time only stance at Eastgate in Inverness at a meeting in May at which it was also agreed to close the rank at Castle Wynd but maintain a 24-hour stance westbound on Bridge Street.

Now councillors and officers have agreed there is "no practical advantage" to the Eastgate proposal, leading to claims it will leave the area massively under-provided for and see a rise in "unofficial" ranks that could give rise to ugly scenes on city streets.

Duncan Fraser of the 150-member Inverness Taxi Alliance (ITA), who only found about the decision to abandon the Eastgate proposal after being contacted by the Highland News, said: "It’ll be a disaster. It will cause social problems in the town.

"You’ll have a free-for-all in the city centre, and that means unofficial ranks.

"It means groups of people where ranks aren’t marshalled, where the bullies get the taxis and the ordinary public won’t.

"This council really don’t care about public safety as far as that’s concerned."

The ITA organised a 3000-signature petition opposing the closure of the Castle Wynd rank only to see it ruled as inadmissible ahead of the council’s May meeting and Mr Fraser said the council had to start listening to the trade about what was best and where.

"When they move taxi stances around they give no consideration to the environment, no consideration to the infrastructure of the city," he said. "Council architects do a drawing, throw it to officers and they sell it to councillors, over-riding everyone."

He also criticised the police, saying they need to be more involved in discussions about rank provision in a city with 27 rank spaces for 400 cars.

The council had previously admitted that an Eastgate rank could see taxi passengers paying higher fares as road layouts would mean many having to "circumnavigate" the city centre just to get on the right road out of the area. Residents in Hilton, Crown, Smithton and Culloden were among those expected to be impacted.

Central ward councillor Richard Laird thinks the decision not to move ahead with the proposal is the right one.

Taking to social media he said: "To be honest, creating a taxi rank on Eastgate would have caused more problems than not creating a taxi rank on Eastgate.

"At the moment, people go to either Castle Wynd or Academy Street for a taxi at night-time.

"Folk could still go to Academy Street.

"If the council had gone ahead with a proposal for a new taxi rank at Eastgate it would be dividing the taxis between two sites when, at the moment, they all go towards one."

A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: "The Inverness city area manager and principal traffic officer consulted central ward members.

"It was agreed there was no practical advantage in progressing with a recommendation to create a taxi rank at Eastgate.

"This is on the basis that augmented ranks in Bridge Street and the existing rank at Academy Street are expected to provide appropriate taxi rank opportunities."

A further report is expected to go to the city committee later this year, updating councillors and seeking their confirmation of the proposal.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:16 am 
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Obviously difficult for outsiders to know what's going on here without knowing the locality, but can certainly identify with what's happening to a degree.

No word of the strike now though :?

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=33010


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:12 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
No word of the strike now though :

Best they call for Trotsky.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:46 pm 
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Well looks like the rank closure is going ahead, which in view of previous articles seemed like an inevitability. Looks like relations between the council and the main trade body have completely broken down, so unlikely in that context that the council would back down over the rank closure.

There was also this complaint to the ombudsman about a year ago, so not sure what happened to that, or if it's been abandoned:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=33599&p

Anyway, on a lighter note it's that chap again who I always think looks more like a councillor than a driver :badgrin:

Makes even Charlie boy look like a scruff :lol:


Castle Wynd taxi rank closure date revealed by Inverness Taxis Alliance

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/new ... ce-186790/

Image
Image: The Inverness Courier

A CITY centre taxi rank is expected to be removed in January as part of a wider project to redevelop the surrounding area.

The rank at Castle Wynd has long been earmarked for removal, despite widespread unhappiness among drivers and many passengers who find it convenient.

A Highland Council spokesman said more information would be made available when an exact date for the removal had been identified – but Inverness Taxi Alliance are this evening telling the public it will close on January 6.

Inverness city centre manager David Haas said earlier this week: “The proposals for Castle Wynd were agreed through the city of Inverness area committee after several meetings with taxi trade representatives at which all options were discussed.”

Despite this, the Inverness Taxis Alliance has objected to the move and plans to make an official complaint to the public service ombudsman.

Alliance chairman Andrew MacDonald said this evening: "I received an email from David Haas today confirming the closure of the Castle Wynd rank on January 6 and thanking the alliance for their co-operation!

"This despite a 3600-signature petition from the public to leave this lifeline rank open. No feasible, safe or workable alternative has been agreed and we were told by a council official that unless we withdrew our objections 'all offers would be off the table'. This statement, witnessed by all present, is now denied but has, nevertheless come to pass.

"What price your 'majority' of drivers and operators not wanting a tariff increase in the face of this duplicity and patronising behaviour. The public are the losers here as well as the taxi trade.

"The town will lose a precious service resource and if the tariff review produces a fare increase an iniquitous and unjustified and unnecessary penalty on the general public."


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:30 am 
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sounds like they have well and truly been shafted by another council that's quick to take their money but thinks they don't need to earn a living

400 taxis clogging up the streets preventing the next council meeting might be a start but I suspect there is a developer or retailer ,restaurant funding the local party who wanted the taxis out of the way. Closing of a taxi rank is usually a sign that some deal has been done with the council

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:42 am 
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Seems the Inverness Taxi Alliance *will* be getting the ombudsman involved in the rank closure.


Taxi drivers to take on Highland Council over Inverness rank closure

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/new ... re-186958/

A move to close a popular city centre taxi rank in Inverness is to be formally challenged.

Chairman of Inverness Taxi Alliance (ITA) Andrew MacDonald said he will be writing to the Scottish public services ombudsman after it was revealed the rank at Castle Wynd in Inverness is to be closed on January 6.

Mr MacDonald shared the closure date online at the weekend after being emailed by Highland Council’s city centre manager David Haas.

“This despite a 3600-signature petition from the public to leave this lifeline rank open,” he said.

“No feasible, safe or workable alternative has been agreed and we were told by a council official that unless we withdrew our objections ‘all offers would be off the table’.”

He said an alternative rank in nearby Bridge Street, lined up to replace Castle Wynd, was originally closed because it was deemed too dangerous and was no better now.

“It is in a deplorable condition, verging on dangerous,” he said.

A Highland Council spokesman yesterday confirmed the closure date for the Castle Wynd rank.

He said: “All parties have been contacted and informed.

“This will allow for the works to improve Castle Wynd to progress so as to deliver an improvement to pedestrian access to the castle which is the subject of plans to create a destination visitor attraction for the city and the Highlands.”


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:05 am 
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It's happening :shock:


Inverness cab drivers submit complaint

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/new ... nt-187489/

TAXI drivers in Inverness have submitted a formal complaint against Highland Council amid plans to close a city centre taxi rank.

The Inverness Taxi Alliance (ITA), which has written to the Scottish Ombudsman, maintains there has been a historical lack of consultation on various issues including tariffs and the planned closure of the Castle Wynd taxi rank on January 6.

It comes as the Highland licensing committee will today discuss proposed fare increases which many taxi drivers oppose.

Alliance chairman Andrew MacDonald said no feasible or safe alternative to Castle Wynd had been agreed and members had been told unless they withdrew their objections, “all offers would be off the table”. He added: “This statement, witnessed by all present, is now denied but has nevertheless come to pass.

“The minutes produced on this matter did not truly reflect the level of consternation.”

Mr MacDonald also disputed assertions that taxi working group meetings provided an open forum for all parties to discuss taxi fares and other issues.

Mr MacDonald said their regularity was “woefully inadequate,” with no time to discuss pressing grievances.

“Sadly, high handedness, lack of information and indifference are the hallmarks of the deteriorating relationship between the trade and the council,” he said.

A council spokeswoman said the local authority was aware of a formal complaint and awaited the ombudsman’s decision.

“The proposals for Castle Wynd were agreed through the city of Inverness area committee after several meetings with taxi trade representatives at which all options were discussed.

“The solution found provides taxi operators with alternative reasonable rank space within the city centre.”

Meanwhile, Mr MacDonald said drivers trading as part of Caley Taxis and Black Mercedes Taxis were offering a deal to passengers who regularly used taxis as a lifeline, for instance to travel to work.

They could take a free journey to decide the best price at existing tariffs and this would be guaranteed until the next review.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:10 am 
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Highland Council wrote:
“The solution found provides taxi operators with alternative reasonable rank space within the city centre.”

Reminds me of when the council here tried to relocate the main night rank because of various issues. First proposal was to split the rank in two, effectively :roll: , second was to move it round the corner :-s

Both of which would have made things a whole lot worse, for various reasons that there's no point going into here.

But the main shortcoming, in my opinion, was that there are currently ten official spaces, but regularly 20-30 taxis queuing to use the rank at certain times, particularly late at weekends. It's very messy, but to a degree is manageable because of unofficial feeder space.

However, although the two proposals would have retained the ten official spaces, neither option would have provided much in the way of feeder space, thus would have made things even more chaotic.

Fortunately both proposals were dropped, but problem is that because the council's paperwork says there's ten official spaces, if they say they'll replace it with ten official spaces elsewhere then all's well in their book, but the reality is a whole lot different.

Echoes of that in Inverness.

Quote:
Meanwhile, Mr MacDonald said drivers trading as part of Caley Taxis and Black Mercedes Taxis were offering a deal to passengers who regularly used taxis as a lifeline, for instance to travel to work.

Could be wrong, but I always took 'lifeline service' or whatever to mean something a bit more pressing than the regular commute to work. Or maybe it just means non-leisure, or similar, as Mr MacDonald seems to be using it here.

Quote:
They could take a free journey to decide the best price at existing tariffs and this would be guaranteed until the next review.

:roll: :lol: =; :badgrin: ](*,)

As if we needed reminding how bad that idea really is.

Wouldn't be surprised if it's really just a way of drumming up some new regular business and 'deciding the best price at existing tariffs' just means negotiating a price, rather than any real attempt to shed light on the tariff-setting process [-(

Nice try though =D> :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:23 pm 
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No U-turn on delay on Inverness taxi rank closure

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/new ... re-188208/

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Image: Inverness Courier

AN Inverness taxi rank will definitely close in the New Year as planned it has been confirmed.

Inverness Taxi Alliance had submitted a formal complaint against Highland Council to the Scottish Ombudsman over the move to shut the rank in Castle Wynd.

The organisation had called for a delay until the complaint had been fully investigated and they had been given a response but the council has refused to change its position.

In an email to the alliance from David Haas, the city of Inverness area manager, he said: “It is considered that there are no grounds for delaying the closure of the taxi rank at Castle Wynd, set to be implemented from and including Monday, January 6, 2020.”

Mr MacDonald said: “The failure of the council to come up with a satisfactory replacement for this operation will create, without doubt, at best, major congestion and difficulty on the existing ranks in Academy Street and potentially put the safety of the public at risk from the frustration caused by that congestion.”


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:54 am 
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Taxi drivers fear Inverness rank becoming ‘volatile’ as closure of Castle Wynd rank is implemented

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/ne ... plemented/

Taxi drivers in Inverness fear the closure of one of the main ranks in the city will make the other prominent stop “volatile”.

Taxis have been relocated from Castle Wynd this week for works to renovate the tourist hotspot in the shadow of the city’s famous castle.

Works worth £373,515 are currently being undertaken by Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd and are anticipated to last 16 weeks.

Improvements to the roads and current pavements, along with the installation of new granite steps and hand rails on the approach to the castle, will be implemented by workers.

However, Inverness Taxi Alliance (ITA) has spoken out after drivers have been relocated from their usual stop to a rank they claim has already been deemed “unsafe” nearby on Bridge Street.

ITA member Duncan Fraser has raised concerns for public safety and has said that despite positive initial talks, he has been left aggrieved at local drivers concerns being “completely ignored”.

Mr Fraser said: “The plans have been bulldozed through by the council.

“All that has happened is the public are now deciding to park up there.

“There are simply not enough spaces now for taxi drivers to get a spot in town at all.

“Drivers are now driving round and round due to over ranking until they can get a spot and that is not helping matters at all. They are emitting additional CO2 emissions, which does not fit with the council’s green policy.

“By shifting most drivers to the other end of town by Academy Street all that is going to happen is that rank will become volatile.”

He added: “Taxi ranks are seen as safe places to assist in public safety. We raised concerns for people with mobility difficulties under the Equality Act 2010 but that was ignored.

“The Highland Council have no interest in public safety whatsoever and they had no intention to come to a compromise with us in the interests of the public and tourism.”

Andrew MacDonald, chairman of ITA, added: “It beggars belief what they are doing by relegating drivers to a rank that has already been deemed unsafe.

“The only conclusion the trade can make is that they are trying to do away with spaces altogether.

“We have seen this in the past through the closure of rank spaces, such as outside Marks and Spencer, which we were told would be temporary and they have never been replaced and we were never consulted.

“It seems to us that they simply don’t want us to have ranks anymore.”

The ITA has also issued notices of complaints to the ombudsman over the handling of the relocation by Highland Council.

A council spokesman said the authority has consulted taxi operators relating to changes to ranks on numerous occasions, with city manager David Haas previously stating: “We are committed to expanding long term sustainable taxi rank provision as city redevelopment takes place and we will ensure that taxi provision is included in any future public transport considerations.”

The local authority has placed traffic cones on Castle Wynd to prevent vehicles as parking is prohibited during works.

The background

The issue relating to the relocation of the taxi rank from Castle Wynd dates back to March 2018 when Highland Council and police representatives met with taxi drivers to discuss the proposed relocation of the taxi rank during the redevelopment of the area.

As objections had been lodged by taxi drivers opposed to the relocation, the matter remained unresolved and was referred to councillors of the City of Inverness Area Committee on May 31.

Councillors decided to re-designate Castle Wynd as a restricted zone with no waiting or loading at any time and instead opted to maintain a 24-hour rank heading westbound on Bridge Street in the city, with the rank extending into the nearby loading bay after 6pm.

Councillors opted to abandon proposals to amend permit parking hours at Broadstone Park along with the suggestion of providing an eastbound daytime taxi rank on Bridge Street.

In December 2019, taxi drivers spoke out in a last ditch bid to have changes implemented prior to the closure of the Castle Wynd rank, but their efforts proved fruitless.


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