TAXI drivers in Westbury could be a step closer to getting their own rank in the vicinity of the Market Place.
Town councillors responded to a call from Tony Galpin of Tony’s Taxis for an official rank to be installed in the Market Place at a recent meeting of the planning committee, saying that it could be integrated with the planned improvements of Maristow Street.
A row between councillors and taxi drivers erupted recently when a number of firms received a letter highlighting the fact that they were illegally forming a rank in the Market Place.
Councillors suggested that instead of forming a rank, the taxis use the existing designated parking bays in which to wait. The taxi firms claimed that these were rarely available on a busy weekend evening when they received the majority of their trade and were left with no option but wait behind the parked cars.
Town council highways planning and development committee chairman, cllr David Windess said, “ We do sympathise with them 100% and there’s absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be a space for taxis in the Market Place. Nobody asked at the design stage for a place for a taxi – obviously if nobody asks, nobody knows anything about it.”
Tony Galpin said, “They were suggesting we have one in Maristow Street but that would be no good at all, I don’t think, because it’s too narrow. If somebody has got one of these big seven or eight-seaters it’s going to get blocked up, so I don’
t think they can cram anything in there.
“I challenged anyone at the meeting to point out any time in the last 20 years when a taxi has caused a problem in there. Nobody answered.”
Tony said that some local firms felt forced to risk a penalty fine and flout the warning not to form a ban.
He said, “The market place is the hub of the community – when people go out on a weekend they want to go where the pubs and clubs are. The pubs are in the Market Place so that’s where we take them. This rank is necessary to our livelihood, otherwise we wouldn’t be asking for it.”