Taxi drivers claim they have been threatened with Asbos for parking on one of Scotland’s busiest streets.
According to police, they have been using Edinburgh’s Waverley Bridge as an unofficial
“‘feeder rank” for the city’s main railway station.
At least one cab firm says it was warned by police that they would issue antisocial behaviour orders against drivers if they continued to wait there.
The problem has arisen because the official waiting area inside the station has been closed since March due to a 130m station renewal programme.
Asbos can be issued under powers designed to help police deal effectively with vehicles that cause annoyance, but are more typically used to clamp down on boy racers.
On Thursday night, officers from Lothian and Borders Police were seen moving taxis on from spaces on Waverley Bridge.
As the tour buses do not operate in the evening, the taxi drivers have insisted that they are not in anyone’s way.
The news comes just weeks after taxis were banned from going through Holyrood Park. This was then overturned shortly afterwards, as it turned out the ban had no legal standing.
Disgruntled cabbies today called the move
“‘crazy” and a
“‘load of nonsense’.” Drivers from Computer Cab and City Cabs confirmed they had received the message saying that police would be issuing Asbo warnings for inconsiderate parking.
Taxi drivers risk their licence if they get two warnings.
Cabbie George Pendreigh, from east Edinburgh said the latest decision was
“‘nonsense” and said drivers had little choice but to park on the bridge because of the closure of the station rank.
“‘When the rank is full at Waverley Bridge, some people are parking where the tour buses would go after 8pm. They use it as a feeder to jump across when a space comes free. There’s no harm in it.’ “
Ali Radhi, 50, from Corstorphine, whose wife is also a cab driver, said:
“‘This is silly. How can sitting in your cab outside a station be antisocial behaviour’? “
The city’s three main black cab firms – City Cabs, Central Radio Taxis and Computer Cab – formed the Edinburgh Licensed Taxi Partnership to represent the 5000 people in the trade.
Secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, Raymond Davidson, said:
“‘One of the drivers showed me this on his system earlier and I think it is way over the top. The only time I’ve heard of Asbos is noisy neighbours and kids causing trouble.
“‘The authorities have got to show a bit of leniency.
“‘It’s absolutely ridiculous to hand an Asbo to a man sitting waiting for a fare. They are not causing any trouble. They wouldn’t be there if there was no business for them.’ “
Company secretary of Central Taxis, Murray Fleming, was equally aggrieved:
“‘I believe this is a bit of a heavy-handed approach. I understand that the police are trying to find a mechanism whereby people will take notice.
“‘However, problems on Waverley Bridge, among others, were anticipated and solutions were put forward by the taxi trade previously. These problems have been exacerbated by the council and the police by ignoring these recommendations.
“‘I would suggest if they had been prepared to give up some revenue-generating road space we could have facilitated this far better.’ “
Lothian and Borders Police would today only confirm that they were looking into the matter.