Taxi town centre charge abandoned

Traffic chaos at the junction of Central Drive and Albert Road in Blackpool
Traffic chaos at the junction of Central Drive and Albert Road in Blackpool
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BLACKPOOL Council has dropped controversial plans to charge taxi drivers £10 to use a shortcut through town.

Cabbies had asked to use pedestrianised Bank Hey Street in a bid to beat the traffic chaos caused by the closure of the Promenade.

Now, plans to charge them a £10 administrative charge for a license to do so have been dropped.

Bill Lewtas, secretary of Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association, said he welcomed the move to scrap the charge.

He added: “I’m very pleased to be able to say that they are not charging us the fee now.

“The taxi drivers just want to offer a good service to customers and we proposed the use of the street to get people from A to B without going around all of the diversions.

“There were discussions about the £10 fee and council leader Peter Callow has now said there will be no charge.”

A spokesman for the council said the charge had been instigated to cover the cost of the permit issued to drivers.

He added: “Bank Hey Street is supposed to be closed but at a meeting a few weeks ago we agreed to allow them to use Bank Hey Street.

“We have also converted Bank Hey Street to allow for two-way traffic creating a loop system making it easier for the taxis to get around that area.

“We have had to create passes for the taxis to permit them through the work on the Prom.”

Taxi drivers have pledged to use the street – after 7pm at night – and will drive no faster than 5mph with hazard lights on.

The Promenade is now closed to all traffic between Adelaide Street West and Talbot Square.

The major thoroughfare is already closed southbound between Gynn Square and Chapel Street, but the route has remained open to northbound traffic.

Blackpool Council hopes to have all of the roads reopened by the start of the summer season.

The authority has closed the Promenade in order to complete vital works on the resort’s Festival Headland, where the new wedding chapel and much-anticipated Comedy Carpet are being constructed.