Cabbies look to have won their battle for a new mid-evening taxi rank in Preston city centre.
Councillors are expected to do a U-turn next week and allow a six-vehicle stand in Friargate to operate from 8pm, only five months after banning cabs from using it until after 11pm.
“Fingers crossed this goes through,” said Mark Selley, secretary of the Preston Hackney Carriage Association.
“It makes sense because it is giving the public what they want, where they want and when they want.”
Preston City Council agreed to the new rank before Christmas after taxi drivers claimed there was a need for a stand in addition to an existing one further up Friargate which caters for travellers at the university end of the street.
The new one, across from the Dog and Partridge pub, was originally approved between 11pm and 6am because the road was a busy bus route with a stop close by.
But objections by cabbies appear to have been heard, with council officers now advising members of the taxi and miscellaneous sub-committee to grant permission for taxis from 8pm when they meet next Thursday.
Mark Selley said: “There needs to be a rank in that section of the street because there are five or six pubs, four or five restaurants and countless takeaways down that end. It is very busy throughout the evening and not just late at night.
“Taxis have taken to ranking illegally, either waiting on double yellow lines or at the bus stop.
“We were quite happy when we heard the council had agreed to put in a rank there, but I was astounded when they said it could only operate after 11 o’clock due to buses using the road up to that time.
“It’s good to know that because of our objections the council may be coming round to our way of thinking.
“This taxi rank is needed earlier in the evening because of the numbers of people who use that area after about 7.30pm. We need to be where people need us, when they need us.”