Con­tro­versy over lo­ca­tion of taxi rank

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sharon Small­wood

WHIT­SUN­DAY taxi driv­ers have ex­pressed con­cern about a pro­posal to move the taxi rank on the Air­lie main street to a new lo­ca­tion in front of the su­per­mar­ket.

Driv­ers and cab own­ers say the pro­posed lo­ca­tion has very sharp en­try and exit an­gles, nar­row path­ways for queu­ing cus­tomers, a lack of shel­ter and no wheel­chair or pram ac­cess.

They also say it was pre­vi­ously un­der­stood the rank would re­turn to its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion once the main street up­grade was com­plete and the news of a new lo­ca­tion has come as a sur­prise.

The rea­son for the move is that the pro­posed bus stop lo­ca­tion was ap­par­ently not work­able, hence the sug­ges­tion that buses be moved to the site of the ex­ist­ing taxi rank.

A TransLink spokesper­son con­firmed the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads (DTMR) had been con­sult­ing with Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil re­gard­ing suit­able lo­ca­tions to ac­com­mo­date both taxis and buses.

“WRC pro­posed to move the buses up to a kilo­me­tre away from [the] main street, which was re­jected by DTMR on the ba­sis that taxi ranks and bus stops should be lo­cated closer to the busi­ness hub to al­low for easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity” the spokesper­son said.

The spokesper­son said DTMR rep­re­sen­ta­tives met with Coun­cil on July 9 to in­spect and dis­cuss suit­able new lo­ca­tions of bus stops and taxi ranks.

As a re­sult, Coun­cil was to pro­vide plans for the re­lo­ca­tion of both the bus stops and taxi ranks, which would have the taxi rank lo­cated out­side the Air­lie Beach su­per­mar­ket with the same num­ber of bays, and the bus stop lo­cated at the site of the ex­ist­ing taxi rank. A bus stop on the op­po­site side of main street, near Mag­nums, was also pro­posed.

The spokesper­son said Coun­cil had re­cently started work on th­ese re­lo­ca­tions, “with­out any plans be­ing pro­vided or ap­proved by DTMR”.

“DTMR has re­minded WRC that all in­fra­struc­ture needs to com­ply with the Dis­abil­ity Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act,” the spokesper­son said.

How­ever, mayor Jennifer Whit­ney says this is not her un­der­stand­ing of the sit­u­a­tion and that she is “ac­tu­ally happy to re­visit it”.

“Coun­cil is happy to work with Main Roads and Trans­port to get the best out­comes for the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Mackay/Whit­sun­day Taxis gen­eral man­ager Gary But­ton said he was hope­ful the mat­ter would be re­solved at a meet­ing be­tween all par­ties next week.

CON­CERNED: Whit­sun­day taxi own­ers and driv­ers Frank Wood, Chris Owen, Max Freck­el­ton, Adam Thomp­son, Lynne Siemsen and Trevor Moore are con­cerned about the pro­posal to move the Air­lie main street taxi rank to a new lo­ca­tion out­side the Air­lie Beach su­per­mar­ket.

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