Wed, 07 Oct 2020
A NEW taxi rank will soon be installed outside Hungerford train station.
The news that taxi drivers “had been waiting a long time for” was confirmed at a town council meeting on Monday night.
Councillor Rob Chicken received the confirmation after meeting with the new station master, Kevin King.
Mr Chicken told his fellow councillors: “I was able to walk him around the station and show him all the plans we have for the car park and the kiosk and the toilets and the disabled access.
“He was very positive in regard to that.
“He said one thing he can do is install a taxi rank at the station and he has given authority for that to happen.”
The new taxi rank will be located just in front of the cycle racks outside the front of the station.
Town council chairwoman Helen Simpson questioned whether there was a need for a second taxi rank at the station when there was already one in the High Street.
Mr Chicken explained that the one at the station will be managed by Great Western Railway, whereas the one in the High Street is managed by West Berkshire Council.
He added: “I told a taxi driver today and he was over the moon.
“I understand they have always wanted one at the station.
“The problem is they haven’t got anywhere that they can park at any time.
“The taxi rank under the railway bridge is available from 11am until 7am the next morning.
“From 7am until 11am it is for deliveries only.
“But the signage is terrible and truck drivers come and try to deliver and you find there is abusive language.
“I have been on the phone listening to a taxi driver having abuse thrown at him when he’s sitting somewhere where he has full rights to be.
“Nobody should have to put up with that sort of abuse in their working life.
“I feel very conscious that we should be trying to do something about it.”
Mrs Simpson replied: “Surely if we can get one at the station and have that one as deliveries only that would help enormously?”
Mr Chicken said: “Yes. The other thing we were trying to do before we knew we were going to get this taxi rank at the station was to try and get the taxis parked outside the town hall.
Mrs Simpson said: “It seemed to have mixed responses didn’t it?”
Mr Chicken replied: “The only people who were perhaps against it are the Town and Manor because they had a market stall there.
“I went into all the shops and all of them were supportive of having the taxi rank outside the town hall.
“The only problem would be the market day on the Wednesday with the Town and Manor, but I think with a bit of goodwill we can mitigate that.”
Mr Chicken was informed by West Berkshire Council that there is a legal process they have to go through to move the taxi rank and that is likely to take 18 months before it can happen.
Councillor Richard Hudson said: “It’s good news we have got a taxi rank at the train station.
“We have wanted that for a long time.
“It’s always been a problem taxi drivers collecting people from the train getting stuck in traffic.
“It’s going to be really useful having it there.”
Mr Chicken said: “I think we will have to keep the taxi rank in the High Street because there are 26 taxis that bring people to the town so we must have a collection point and the train station is probably not the best place to do that.
“The rank in the High Street is much better for that.”