As an ex-taxi driver, I read with interest your article about the latest flare-up of the railway station row.
It is some of the taxi drivers themselves who have brought this about by generally misbehaving in the past.
Taxis without passes used to be allowed on the station forecourt for booked fares, but unfortunately a lot of drivers took liberties and would often rank up there under the pretence that they had a booking when they didn’t. I think if everyone had used the forecourt the way East Midlands Trains intended, things would have continued in that fashion, but taxi drivers being taxi drivers couldn’t resist the temptation to push their luck.
That being said, I do think it unreasonable that any taxi firm should be expected to pay a three-figure sum to put a vehicle on the rank at a railway station, essentially providing a public service. To break even on a £300 pass, taking driver percentages and running costs into account, means doing about £1,000 worth of jobs.
It really is time the taxi firms all got together a little and said ‘no, we’re not paying that kind of money just to do our jobs’.
Not only that, but the rank there is nowhere near big enough and in the peak season passengers can often be seen waiting frustratedly as the taxis have all picked up jobs and have yet to return. It doesn’t look good for Skegness when visitors are getting off a train and having to wait half an hour for the next available taxi, and people coming here from cities where taxis queue up outside railway stations almost permanently can’t understand why we fail them so.
It’s important to keep in mind if travelling to Skegness by train that there is another taxi rank a few dozen yards away, outside KFC, where there’s usually no shortage of waiting drivers who will happily pick you up.