Taxi drivers across the UK know the importance of where taxi ranks are based when it comes to the amount of fares they are likely to achieve each day. If a taxi rank is in a busy area drivers are more likely to gain business, which is why many become so frustrated when they are moved by councils to areas where it is more difficult to find customers.
Train stations are one of the best places for taxi drivers to pick up customers, as when many people get off trains they get straight into taxis in order to get to their final destinations. However, taxi drivers in Epsom have recently been told that they will not be allowed outside the station even though they are currently losing a large amount of business. Two years ago development work started at the station which meant that the taxi drivers had to move away from the station approach, however now the work is completed Surrey County Council have decided that taxi drivers will no longer be allowed back.
Drivers in the area have petitioned against the Council’ decision, especially as many have said that their income is no longer enough to pay for their petrol, taxi insurance and the cost of living. One driver, Sheila Siggers said: “Just before Christmas I earned £33 in one day, and £20 of that was spent on petrol. People are thinking ‘we’re not going to walk up there’ and walk home instead. Why can’t Epsom be like all other stations and have a black cab rank right outside?”
“People want to come out of the station and walk straight into their cab. I’ve lost my house in the last two years. I just couldn’t afford it anymore so I moved in with my mum. Drivers are having to work longer hours now because they have less jobs. I know the economic situation isn’t great and we expected trade to drop in a bit, but we’re not really making anything.”
Surrey County Council have responded to the petition by saying that they would consult the public on the decision, with a spokeswoman saying: “This was raised as a concern at a meeting of our committee for Epsom and Ewell, and a working group was formed of a number of interested parties including affected taxi drivers.”
“The group suggested a solution that would include 16 or 17 taxi spaces in Station Approach – a rank on the north side and a feeder on the south side. The proposal also includes space for buses, loading and kiss ‘n’ ride. Realising that many people, including local residents and commuters, will have interest in this, the committee has decided to undertake public consultation.”