Representatives from Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Constabulary and United Utilities recently met with representatives from the district's taxi traders following the first week of United Utilities' major improvement works in the city centre.
The meeting was held as part of the planned review process that had been agreed following the temporary relocation of the bus station taxi rank to Dalton Square, which has provoked concerns from taxi drivers and taxi users alike - and, last week, led to some drivers unoffically using Butterfield Street car park, which is near the bus station, as an unofficial rank.
The Council says the meeting was very constructive and actions were agreed to look at ways of improving traffic movement and safety in Dalton Square and the potential for temporarily increasing taxi rank provision during certain hours at two other city centre locations.
It was also agreed to reconsider a proposal to provide a phone link between the bus station and Dalton Square taxi rank would be revisited.
All parties agreed that the opportunity to review was useful and would continue during the period of works in the city centre.
A number of alternative locations for the bus station rank, which is closed while United Utilities work on the town's sewers is in progress, were considered by the licensing authority. These alternatives were all discussed with the trade and the County Council as highway authority but of the options considered, only Dalton Square was deemed suitable by the County Council. This temporary rank came into action for the first time last week and is being used by the vast majority of hackney carriage drivers.
Separately, a small group of hackney carriage drivers are seeking planning permission for their company to use part of a private car park at Butterfield Street as an alternative private taxi rank. The planning application will require consultation with county highways and the police, and will be considered in due course. If planning permission is granted then the City Council as licensing authority will consider whether it should be designated as a rank.