Blackpool taxi scheme approved - but drivers warned against touting for business

Black cabs queuing for business in Blackpool
Black cabs queuing for business in Blackpool
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A formal taxi sharing scheme has been approved by Blackpool councillors - but drivers will be barred from touting for business at bus and tram queues.

Cabbies were also warned the system must not be used to over-charge other groups who wish to travel exclusively on a metered fare.

The initiative is designed to offer more choice to passengers queueing at ranks in ones and twos for journeys to popular destinations including the Tower and the zoo.

Taxi sharing will operate in zones along the Promenade with maximum fares of £2 or £2.50 per passenger.

Blackpool Council's public protection agreed the scheme which must now be advertised before it can come into force.

Bill Lewtas, of Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association (BLOTA), said: "I am pleased the council approved our plans for taxi sharing.

"We provided detailed plans as to how we think this should operate. Councillors approved our plans unanimously and these will now be advertised to the public."

The proposals from BLOTA say drivers may not "approach or speak to members of the public who are stood in a queue for buses or trams", and they must not "persistently harass or tout for hiring".

Strict rules will also apply in relation to the display of signage, timings and how to charge.

BLOTA adds the scheme must not "be used to justify overcharging groups of people who wish to travel exclusively".

If a group approaches a taxi not displaying shared hire availability, the assumption will be they want to travel under a metered fare.

A formal taxi sharing scheme last operated in Blackpool around 1990 but has lapsed.

The new zones will be - South Promenade encompassing Pleasure Beach to Central Pier; North Promenade - Central Pier to North Pier/North Station; North Promenade - North Pier to Norbreck Castle; Blackpool Zoo - for journeys to the area around the zoo including Stanley Park.

Taxi operators hope the scheme will help drivers compete with discounted fares on other public transport including buses and trams.