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Firms fighting over station taxi rank bid

03/09/2013

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By Julie Tickner, T&A Reporter

Cabbies and private hire taxi drivers are at loggerheads over whether Shipley railway station should have a hackney carriage rank.
Mehrban Khan, a member of the Bradford Hackney Carriage Association, thinks the facility would benefit disabled passengers – saying that 95 per cent of the districts hackney cabs are wheelchair-friendly.
But manager of taxi firm AA Shipley, Craig Brook, which has a contract to provide a taxi service at the station, said his company was more than capable of providing wheelchair access to customers.
In April 2012 Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Panel instructed officers to look into setting up a hackney carriage taxi stand at the station. Now, Mr Khan is questioning why it has not happened.
His frustration is shared by the deputy leader of Bradford Council Imran Hussain, who blamed Network Rail for the delay.
Coun Hussain said: “We have been pursuing Northern Rail to get taxi ranks at Shipley and Keighley stations for the past two years.
“The key issue for me is the gross unfairness for disabled people who are not able to access taxis at these stations. We are disappointed with the action from Northern Rail and will continue to lobby them about this issue.”
Mr Khan added: “Quite a lot of trains come through Shipley. People change there for Bradford, Bingley and Keighley and at the moment people have to phone for a taxi. We can be there all the time.
“It would be better for disabled people if they had that,” he said.
Mr Brook insists that disabled access is not an issue and that his drivers get to customers within about 20 seconds of being called from a free-phone line at the station. He said a hackney carriage rank would mean his drivers could not pick-up there, as private taxis are not allowed to drive into cab ranks.
“It would cause traffic chaos,” he said.
“We have four minibuses that have been made wheelchair accessible from our company alone and I know there’s a couple more.
“We’ve regular customers that use us to transport wheelchairs. It’s not a call we get often though just out of the blue.”
Mark Nicholson, the general manager of Disability Advice Bradford, which is based in Dockfield Road, Shipley, said a hackney carriage rank would be beneficial for all passengers, but that there was no issue with disabled people using private hire vehicles.
“Some of our clients that come to see us on Dockfield Road, do have to call for a taxi from the station, so to have any form of rank there for anyone – disabled, the elderly or otherwise, from a convenience point of view would be of great benefit,” he said.
He added that the quality of disability access across taxi firms throughout Bradford was extremely high.
Network Rail did not provide a comment.

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