Take a registered Gloucester taxi - or your life in your hands, warn cabbies
ILLEGAL cabs cruising for business in Eastgate Street are taking money out of the pockets of hard-working drivers – according to one of Gloucester's largest taxi firms.
The practice of unauthorised pick-ups from the heart of Gloucester's clubland has led bosses at Andy Cars to demand council action is taken before someone gets hurt.
Unregulated drivers are accused of parking on double yellow lines and pavements along Eastgate Street, causing obstructions for pedestrians and adding to problems for police and club security staff.
John Taylor, who has been driving for Andy Cars for 10 years, says the problem has got steadily worse.
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"People picking up illegal taxis in Eastgate Street late on a weekend really are taking their lives into their own hands. These taxis are completely unregulated and they have no idea who the driver is. There is no comeback if something goes wrong.
"It's only a matter of time before someone gets killed or seriously injured. Not all of these cars are registered or licensed to pick up off the street. They are breaking the law.
"It is costing our drivers money who are losing out on business. There needs to be better regulation and spot checks by the police and the council.
"A pedestrianisation of Eastgate Street would go someway to sorting the problem."
Andy Cars takes pre-booked orders, but the firm is also licensed to pick up fares from the street.
Taxi drivers are represented on the nightsafe partnership forum (made up of businesses, police and councillors) by union representative Paul Hopkins.
Discussions have taken place within the group to move the existing taxi rank from outside Liquid nightclub and takeaways to help diffuse potential trouble spots in the area and help marshalls to monitor queues.
Jennie Dallimore, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: "The taxi rank position, currently directly outside Liquid, is now under review with a possible re-siting to GL1, where taxis can come in and out of the area easily.
"That would mean no traffic other than emergency vehicles would need to use Eastgate Street on a weekend evening."