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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:50 pm 
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A slightly different angle on the driver shortage.


Darlington taxi rank becoming like 'zombie apocalypse' as drunk revellers bang on car doors and run into road

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/tees ... k-21417120

Darlington Council says it is aware of calls for marshals and the unrest at the taxi rank in recent weeks

Darlington Council says it is considering employing a taxi marshal in a busy Darlington road as one driver claims the rank has been like a "zombie apocalypse" in recent weeks.

Taxi drivers have spoken out about "dangerous" situation developing in Grange Road on weekends as people who've been out in the town try to get home.

They've reported people running into the middle of the road, slamming taxi doors and groups of lads pushing in front of lone women as the queue grows in the town.

Gavin Ellis, who has been a taxi driver in Darlington for 30 years, said: "On Saturday it was becoming quite dangerous with people running into the middle of the road.

"There were groups who were striking the doors. I was trying to get to the people at the front of the rank who were waiting normally.

"Then there were those who were intoxicate that are just wandering out into the middle of the road trying to stop taxis.

"There's nobody there to keep them in check."

Another taxi driver has said he wouldn't return to Grange Road as the situation was becoming "too dangerous".

Darlington Council says its aware of calls for marshals on the road and say unrest in the queues has been linked to longer waiting times at the rank at peak hours due to a shortage of drivers.

Gavin added: "It started a few weeks ago but it is getting to the situation where several of the drivers won't even go anywhere near that rank.

"They fear for their safety and the safety of their vehicle.

"I would like to see Darlington Council put some marshals there. Even when two police officers were there, people took notice and behave themselves unlike when there's no one to put them in check.

"It's like a zombie apocalypse - they're just drunk and in the middle of the road."

As families and friends head out following months of restrictions, the public are being urged to be mindful that queues for taxis may be longer as the driver shortage becomes a national issue.

This is believed to be because many taxi drivers sought alternative employment during the pandemic.

A spokesman for Darlington Council said: "We are aware of calls for taxi marshals in Grange Road and this is something we are considering.

"Unrest in the queues for a taxi has been linked to longer waiting times at the rank at peak hours due to a shortage of drivers.

"We are working with the police to address this issue and urge late night visitors to use restraint and respect other town centre users and drivers.

“We are pleased to welcome more people back into the town centre, night and day, and we will work with partners and trade bodies to ensure that visitors, and those who work in our hospitality and taxi businesses, can enjoy Darlington as a safe place to visit and work.”


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:50 pm 
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Darlington HCD wrote:
"On Saturday it was becoming quite dangerous with people running into the middle of the road.

"There were groups who were striking the doors. I was trying to get to the people at the front of the rank who were waiting normally.

"Then there were those who were intoxicate that are just wandering out into the middle of the road trying to stop taxis.

So what's new? It's maybe worse because of the current situation, but it's this sort of thing that lead to the death following a rank fight in Dundee, for example.

Darlington HCD wrote:
Even when two police officers were there, people took notice and behave themselves unlike when there's no one to put them in check.

Indeed, but in likes of Dundee I get the impression police prefer to give stuff like this a wide body swerve...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 5:37 pm 
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There is often more aggro at taxi ranks than in the pubs and clubs.

You have to wonder why taxi marshalls in busy town city centres aren't the norm.

Yes it will cost a fair bit of money, but let's have some kind of fee on late night venues, be they pubs, clubs, food venues etc.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:33 am 
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Marshals to be introduced at busy taxi rank which driver likened scenes to a 'zombie apocalypse'

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/tees ... d-21592356

Two marshals will be at Grange Road taxi rank on Friday and Saturday nights

Marshals will be introduced at a busy Darlington taxi rank where one driver described scenes of revellers being like something out of 'zombie apocalypse' film.

From Friday, Darlington Council will be introducing two marshals at Grange Road taxi rank to assist with people getting home following a night on the town.

Last month, taxi drivers spoke out about "dangerous" situation developing on weekends.

They reported people running into the middle of the road, slamming on taxi doors and groups of lads pushing in front of lone women as the queue grows in the town.

Gavin Ellis, who has been a taxi driver in Darlington for 30 years, described the scenes on Grange Road as like a "zombie apocalypse".

The pandemic has led to a national shortage of taxi drivers as those out of work due to the lockdowns diversified and took up different roles.

Cllr Jonathan Dulston, deputy leader of the council, said: "Taxi drivers have diversified during the pandemic and has become a bit of an issue as people are returning to the town on a Friday and Saturday night.

"We have a really vibrant nightlife and what we are seeing are people becoming impatient at 1am or 2am while waiting to get home.

"We are seeing an increase in not necessarily violence but certainly incidents - taxi drivers have reported people getting abusive and it's not something they should have to deal with."

The council is also looking to encourage more drivers to get there taxi licence to help tackle the shortage.

Two marshals, who are being funded by the council, will be in Grange Road on Friday and Saturday n"It's also about the wider safety of people on their way home," said Cllr Dulston. "There were some females choosing to walk home at 1am because the queue was so long.

"Unfortunately that's not always safe and there have been incidents where women have fallen over and injured themselves.

"It's also about safety in working with the police and alerting them to situations where someone may be vulnerable to harm.

"Hopefully the marshals provides confidence to the public to continue to come out and enjoy the night time economy and for taxi drivers who might otherwise have chosen to avoid Grange Road."


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:24 pm 
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Well done to the council for funding these marshalls.

But I suspect at some time the funding will run out.

What the trade there and elsewhere need is a long-term UK-wide plan to fund marshalls, and I know the powers to be don't like it but a late night license fee is the only way.

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