Ze­bra cross­ing plan at sta­tion rank out of or­der

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Taxi driv­ers say they are be­ing given the cold shoul­der by coun­cil and trans­port bosses over pro­posed changes to their wait­ing area out­side the in­ter­na­tional sta­tion.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil and South­east­ern Trains have re­vealed plans to cre­ate a new ze­bra cross­ing in Sta­tion Ap­proach to make it eas­ier for peo­ple to get across the road.

It fol­lows news that the con­struc­tion of the Com­mer­cial Quar­ter at Dover Place is ahead of sched­ule, while the new col­lege build­ing is set to open in Septem­ber, which could lead to hun­dreds of com­muters and stu­dents need­ing to cross the road safely.

But the pol­icy change means that the taxi rank will have to be moved into the Stour Cen­tre car park around the cor­ner.

Sue Why­brow, who rep­re­sents her fel­low Hack­ney cab driv­ers, raised her con­cerns at the coun­cil’s cab­i­net meet­ing last week.

She said: “It’s as if we are be­ing given an ul­ti­ma­tum that we will be moved to the other side of the town, and there is no in­clu­sion of the taxi trade in meet­ings. It’s an in­sult to the taxi trade.

“The cross­ing is ill-con­ceived and dan­ger­ous.

“There are cheaper and more vi­able al­ter­na­tives and op­por­tu­ni­ties to make sure dis­abled pas­sen­gers are safer, but these are ig­nored.”

Ms Why­brow said cars drop­ping off and pick­ing up traf­fic out­side the sta­tion al­ready makes it dif­fi­cult for dis­abled peo­ple to cross the road to reach cars and de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as il­le­gal but said landowner South­east­ern has re­fused to meet to dis­cuss changes.

Mean­while, driv­ers fear that if the taxi rank is moved to the Stour Cen­tre car park, it will fur­ther add to prob­lems of cars us­ing the drop-off points, and also high­lighted that the car park there is prone to flood­ing.

She added: “The is­sue is the fact that we are be­ing chucked in a flooded field where there is no ac­cess to toi­lets, and they are no longer go­ing to raise the level of the tar­mac.

“It could mean that there are 18 days of the year where we have nowhere to go.”

Taxi driver and cam­paigner Sue Why­brow says the coun­cil and South­east­ern have ig­nored cab driv­ers’ com­plaints

Taxi driv­ers are not happy with the pro­posed changes at Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional Sta­tion which would see their rank moved around the cor­ner to the Stour Cen­tre car park

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