By Kevin Duguid
DRIVERS could be banned from one of Scotland’s busiest railway stations under proposals being drawn up to defend it against a terrorist threat.
Waverley Station, which is undergoing a multi-million-pound overhaul, is the only one in the UK which allows motorists to drive right into its centre.
Taxi drivers have already been told they cannot renew their permits for a full year and will be told what is happening at a later date.
Network Rail, which runs the station, said it was being required to look at arrangements for both taxis and private cars due to government anti-terror restrictions.
Taxi drivers have previously complained about being forced into surrounding streets while work is carried out to modernise the Capital’s main train station.
A possible ban would see cabbies forced to find a new permanent rank to replace the one currently next to the station concourse.
However, Raymond Davidson, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Association, said the majority of drivers would be in favour of such a move.He said: “I had heard the station was closing to cars and that might happen in January. Some of the lads have already been told they can’t renew their permits for a full year.“Closing the rank in the station would be a very sore loss for the guys who have an exclusive right to pick up the passengers off the trains, but from a street cars point of view it would be good news because it would allow us to pick up on Market Street.”
Conservative City Centre councillor Allan Jackson said the proposal would need to be closely scrutinised.“I can see the argument and there is certainly a need to guard against terrorist threats, but on the other side of the coin this could cause significant problems for people, elderly people for example, who need a taxi fairly close by.“Public safety has to come first, but I would hope these proposals would be put before the licensing board and to users of the station before anything is decided.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said a plan for the future parking arrangements had yet to be finalised.He said: “We don’t have a plan in place at the moment.
Asked if cars could be banned outright, he said: “It’s a possibility, but it’s still too early to say. We will make an announcement when we have a firm plan.”
Earlier this year taxi drivers were warned they could be slapped with Asbos if they parked on Waverley Bridge or on bus lanes while work was under way at the station.