Cabbies’ anger at clogged-up ranks

problem parking: Cars clog up a taxi rank in Friargate, Preston. Drivers say scenes like this are becoming more common.
problem parking: Cars clog up a taxi rank in Friargate, Preston. Drivers say scenes like this are becoming more common.
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Cabbies in Preston today called for urgent action over drivers clogging up the city’s taxi ranks.

Hackney carriage drivers say they are regularly confronted with “repeat offenders” blocking up ranks in Friargate and Church Street because they want to park for free.

action: Mark Selley

action: Mark Selley

That forces taxis to park outside the ranks, with police often moving them on.

Drivers have previously called police to try and deal with the problem. But they say that officers and the council are still not doing enough to get normal cars off the ranks.

Pete Tyson, of the Preston Hackney Carriage Association, said: “They (the police) do ask you to move on.

“One of the main ranks is on Friargate and four months ago we asked licensing (at the Town Hall) to speak to the County Council about re-establishing the yellow marks on the road so you can see the rank more clearly.

action:  Pete Tyson

action: Pete Tyson

“Four months on and we are no nearer.

“The problem is the parking wardens finish in the evening at about 7pm.

“We have asked them to stop out later but they have said they need a police escort.

“We ring the police constantly and ask them to do something but they have a high work load.”

Association secretary Mark Selley added: “To be fair to the police when we call them they will come out and ticket some of the cars.

“The police need to react rather than be phoned by us. They will often drive past the ranks ignoring the cars that are there.

“And I think (parking wardens) can work later. That is in their remit.

“A lot of these cars are regular offenders, they are people who work in restaurants or bars.”

Rick Hayton, assistant director for strategic highways, at Lancashire County Council, said: “We aim to be flexible in the way we carry out parking enforcement and our officers work in the evenings if required.

“This would generally need to be as part of a planned operation as there are extra considerations such as increased need for safety which come into play when working late in city centre areas.

“The first step would be to build up a clear picture of the problem and I would ask taxi drivers to report any issues to us on 0800 195 2774.

“Work is scheduled to repaint the rank on Friargate this summer.”