Cabbies call in traffic experts

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Taxi leaders in Blackpool have joined forces to commission a town centre traffic survey amid concerns about congestion.

The Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association (BLTOA) along with two major cab operators in the resort are funding the work which will focus on Central Promenade and Talbot Road.

They have appointed John Carruthers of Preston-based VTC Highway and Transport Consultancy to carry out the survey.

He has more than 30 years experience, having carried out recent assignments in London, Sunderland and throughout the North West.

Blackpool’s taxi trade has warned the proposed £22m extension of the tramway up Talbot Road will lead to congestion because the junction with the Promenade requires a controlled signal.

A BLTOA spokesman said: “We are grateful to our taxi company partners in helping to finance this important review which will be in more depth than the last independent review of the Promenade in 2011.

“Let me be clear on this, we don’t object in principle to extending the tramway, but in our view it should not be at the expense of the traffic movements on the Promenade and in the town centre which is adversely affected by the changes from a few years ago.

“There are measures which could be taken to mitigate this.”

BLTOA intends to forward the results of the consultation to the Secretary of State for Transport.

The consultant spent three hours surveying traffic flow last Saturday and will return this Saturday as well as making a mid-week visit.

However Blackpool Council says the introduction of a new junction will not increase congestion.

It says the extension is vital for improving the town’s economy and ensuring both visitors and residents can get around more easily using the tram network.

A new tramway terminus will also be built close to Blackpool North station on the site currently occupied by the Wilkinsons store.