Parliament Street evening rank in effect to prevent 'illegal' pick-ups

Traffic in Harrogate
Traffic in Harrogate
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A new evening taxi rank on Parliament Street, designed to prevent illegal ranks operating on King's Road, will come into effect on Monday.

Central Taxis have claimed that, for 12 years, taxis have formed an illegal rank outside of Bambinos take-away on King's Road to pick up 'vulnerable customers' at the end of their night out.

Kevin O’Boyle, who owns Central Taxis, warned that it could just be ‘a matter of time’ before there was a ‘serious accident’ as a result of the rank.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways said the new rank on Parliament Street would address the long-running road safety concerns caused by illegal ranks in the town.

He said: "We and Harrogate Borough Council have been concerned about the risks presented by taxis waiting to pick up passengers at inappropriate locations in this part of the town, for example on double yellow lines near traffic signals.

"This new rank provides a safe alternative, reducing the risk to the taxis' customers, other road users and the taxi drivers themselves."

The rank, which will accommodate up to ten vehicles, will operate between 6pm and 8am seven days a week. It was approved in June after extensive consultation with residents, businesses and the taxi trade by both authorities.

At that time, Mr O'Boyle warned that taxis were profiting from picking up customers at the end of a night out on King's Road and called on Night Marshalls in the town to do more to prevent it.

He said: "It’s a good spot to pick people up because they are vulnerable at that time of night, but if you are getting in this taxi then you are not insured because it’s not a flag down and it’s not a rank.”

Up until now, parking in this location on Parliament Street has been unrestricted. Existing pay and display arrangements will remain during the daytime but Coun Mackenzie warned motorists face a fine if they park there in the evening.

He said: "Not only would that disrupt the efficiency of the rank, but anyone doing so would risk receiving a penalty notice."