Cabbies say Prom brings rip-off claims

Taxi drivers say the Promenade road causes hold ups. Below: Stephen Kay.
Taxi drivers say the Promenade road causes hold ups. Below: Stephen Kay.
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A taxi driver claims he and his colleagues are being accused of ripping customers off while driving during heavy congestion on the Promenade.

Stephen Kay has branded a report which says no changes should be made to the current shared space area of the central stretch of the Prom as “outrageous”, and says customers are increasingly accusing cabbies of duping them for driving them via alternative routes.

Stephen Kay

Stephen Kay

Mr Kay, of Warbreck Hill Road, Warbreck, said: “The Prom is a total and utter embarrassment.

“How on earth can they say it doesn’t need changing?

“Sometimes traffic’s backed right up to the Hilton Hotel so you’ve got no chance of getting customers to somewhere like the Pleasure Beach.

“People think we’re ripping them off and taking them the long way round.”

An independent report by Manchester-based company Ove Arup and Partners has recommended that the route should be left as it is, calling concerns over congestion “anecdotal”.

It also said a return to a four lane highway was the “least attractive” option.

But Mr Kay added: “It just puts people off because it’s costing people a fortune to get across town and we feel like we’re thieving off them when we’re not.”

Fellow cabbie Steve Buckley, a committee member of Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association (BLTOA), said: “I’ve never experienced those accusations myself but I’ve heard of it happening.

“When you’re stuck in that traffic for 10 or 15 minutes it does make a difference to the length of journey.”

Bill Lewtas, secretary of BLTOA, has previously hit out at the consultants’ report, saying a site visit should have taken place at rush hour.

Blackpool Council says it will take all views into account when it meets to discuss the issue at the council executive meeting at 6pm today.

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