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SALFORD MEDIACITYUK TO HAVE NO BLACK CABS
 

Star date: 18th November 2010

NO BLACK CABS AT MEDIACITYUK

BBC staff relocating from London, and Salford people lucky enough to get work, will be staggered to hear that they won't be able to hail a black cab at MediaCityUK.

Despite millions of pounds worth of public money being sunk into infrastructure at Salford Quays, the whole MediaCityUK site is owned by private company, Peel Holdings, which has confirmed "there will be no taxi ranks within the MediaCityUK development".

Local cabbies aren't happy, to say the least.

Full story here


NO CABS AT MEDIACITYUK
click image to enlarge

It wasn't too long ago that Salford City Council Leader, John Merry, went on local radio and justified relaxing the rules on the number of taxis in Salford by arguing that when MediaCityUK opened it would need more cabs to cope with demand.

Now it is clear that when MediaCityUK opens next year there will be no black cab ranks at all on the site, even though Salford Cabinet's Work Plan for 2010-11 states that to "ensure safety and fair trading" it will "Work with hackney carriage trade and MediaCityUK to ensure enough taxis". 

While Salford's black cabs will be able to drop off at MediaCityUK they will not be allowed to pick up passengers as the site is privately owned by Peel Holdings which, according to a Salford Council Regeneration Report, is "looking into contract with taxi firms to allow access to areas".

You can assume that private hire firms will pay Peel Holdings for the privilege of working at MediaCityUK while the local hackney carriages, driven almost exclusively by Salford workers, will be left out on the sidelines.

Anecdotal evidence from hackney carriage drivers suggests that black cabs are already being turned away from waiting for passengers outside Peel Holdings' Holiday Inn Hotel on the MediaCityUK site.

Meanwhile the BBC, which already has private hire contracts in place at its Oxford Road base in Manchester, told us that it will be entering into agreements with private hire companies at MediaCityUK but no agreements are yet in place.

"The hackney carriage drivers had a meeting with the Council three years ago and said that we wanted a rank at MediaCityUK" says Salford hackney carriage driver, Simon Whittaker

"They could have sorted this out at the planning stages of MediaCityUK but they didn't" he adds "This is the same process that's happened ever since I've been on the cabs, over 22 years. This council just does things without proper regard for our livelihoods, our families and the knock on effects to the wider economy."

Up until late this year, there were exactly two spaces for black cabs near The Lowry. And, as a sop to the hackney carriage drivers, the Council has put a rank with space for three or four cabs around the corner, near the car park entrance. There are also two spaces for cabs, well out of sight, on Merchants Quay. Which leaves maybe eight spaces for black cabs on the whole of the Quays, well away from the main hub of MediaCityUK.

"First of all the hackney carriage drivers had to fight to get those two spaces near The Lowry, now they've given us a site for four cabs at the side of the car park where no-one can see them" says Simon Whittaker "They are nowhere near MediaCityUK and no-one will know that they are there."

Hackney carriage cab ranks being off-site of MediaCityUK will also have implications for wheelchair users who rely on the space in black cabs.

Salford Council's Lead Member for Environment, Councillor Joe Murphy told us that "The Council are working with hackney carriage drivers to identify suitable locations for taxi ranks across Salford, including the area of MediaCityUK, to ensure that ranks meet the needs of the travelling public."

This is totally disputed by Simon Whittaker... "If the Council is working closely with hackney carriage drivers identifying demand at MediaCityUK then why the hell haven't we got a rank there?"

The answer is obvious. That despite the millions of pounds of public money that have gone into enhancing the Quays, the whole of MediaCityUK is in the private hands of Peel Holdings who control its private streets and the vehicles that are allowed access.

"There will be no taxi ranks within the MediaCityUK development but hackney carriages will be able to drop off" says Paul Newman of Peel Media "We are working with our public sector partners to ensure the best solution for Quays-wide taxi rank provision."

Cabbies are not allowed to queue up if ranks are full, and with so few spaces on ranks at the Quays, they will be obliged to drive to the next nearest rank which is, amazingly, Salford Precinct.

"What the Council is suggesting is that we wait on the Precinct and hope that someone shouts loud enough from The Lowry or MediaCityUK that there's a cab needed" laughs Simon Whittaker "It's just a joke."

Just hope those BBC people carry around their directors' megaphones. They're going to be needing them

 

 

Mike Skefington wrote
at 16:17:43 on 23 November 2010
One way to find out why there is to be no rank on Salford Quays for Salford black cabs is to ask Peel Holdings, better to go straight to the organ grinder and bypass it's monkey. To be honest though, I don't think we will get a true answer whoever we ask.

Simon Whittaker wrote
at 16:14:12 on 22 November 2010
This is the while point Alan, it isn't a public highway it is owned by Peel Holdings and they are leasing the building to the BBC, denying certain rights and privileges to hackney carriages, because they are working with private sector partners which has usually become a by-word for "to the highest bidder" for every other development in the past 10 yrs.

alan mcglone wrote
at 09:45:10 on 22 November 2010
I've no axe to grind one way or the other but I always assumed that I was safer getting into a black cab than any other because they are regulated by the council. This is especially true at night. I thought public highways were just that, public, so how can a private company ban black cabs on public roads?

Nachtschlepper wrote
at 10:14:58 on 20 November 2010
Yet another example of our brainless, spineless Council's ineptitude when it comes to representing the interests of Salfordians. It does make one wonder about the integrity of some of our leaders. What possible reason can they have for allowing things like this to happen? Do they lack intelligence? A spine? Or is it just plain brown envelopes? Before some Council gauleiter starts screaming libel, I don't make any accusations only ask the question.

Weastemike69 wrote
at 17:02:28 on 19 November 2010
I can remember last feeling pretty angry last year that the cab drivers were feeling pretty hard done by claiming their takings had gone down. My initial response was that you never see skint taxi driver, but after speaking to one or two on Salford precinct recently about how many cabs are sat doing nothing I have to concede that my attitude has changed. The running costs on those things are huge and it seems to me considering this article they had reason to be upset as there seems to be an ever incredible number of them at Salford precinct. Last week I couple get on the car park for taxis..... I don't use black cabs myself as I drive but I can understand the needs of societies groups like people with disabilities needing to access a black cab in certain areas. Why is there no taxi rank at walkden precinct ? I thought that huge a new shopping centre was recently built there...

Mary McConell wrote
at 17:01:47 on 19 November 2010
It seems to me that these cab drivers are getting a bit of a rough ride here. Didn't John Merry say on Salford city radio debate before the election that more cabs were needed because of the media city !!!!!!

STUART RYAN wrote
at 15:05:38 on 19 November 2010
regarding the media city i am disgusted with our council that no ranks are being provided for the disabled and peel holding there self but being such a big company they think they can walk all over people.

Mike Skeffington wrote
at 14:13:40 on 19 November 2010
This type of pettymindedness doesn't surprise me. It denies cab drivers the opportunity to earn their living in their own city. Mediacity no doubt need the space for the limos the BBC staff will use to get them to work.

Ed wrote
at 14:13:30 on 19 November 2010
One word for these planners and Peel holdings to think about, "Disabled".... Many disabled people rely on the hackney cabs as they are the quickest and easiest service available... This reason alone is a major reason why Salford Quays as a whole, not just Media City needs a proper taxi rank for Salfords Hackney Cab drivers.

Simon Whittaker wrote
at 14:11:52 on 19 November 2010
May I also point out that this council protested with direct and focused arguments that, considerable consultation in the city had taken place and in light of that, they had found a need to de-limit the number of taxis available as the city was so under-represented in certain areas. MediaCity, Chapel St, Walkden, Swinton to name but a few. The big Question for me is where are these taxi ranks that YOU decided, there was a need for more cabs to be available. We are a year on from the court case in which Salford Hackney Drivers paid there hard earned money to fight your decisions in court, where consequently we lost, and also incurred the councils costs, and still no extra rank spaces. I await some response with no hope of getting a reasonable answer...........

mary ferrer wrote
at 04:24:41 on 19 November 2010
I am not sure where,but I recall reading or been told that the BBC will use the firm they are using now in Manchester, I maybe wrong.There was nothing on the plans for a rank and I know the salford hackney drivers have over a period of time been asking way. I can't understand why because it is not the easiest place to travel to or from.

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