TAXI drivers have been left in limbo by a disagreement over whether their waiting bays at Basildon train station are still protected.
Private vehicles have started parking in marked taxi bays in ’the bowl’ – the circular bowl outside Trafford House – leaving cabbies with nowhere to wait.
The area outside Basildon station has been beset by parking problems – including illegal parking on the pavement – ever since Basildon Council granted permission to convert Trafford House into almost 400 flats, but with less than 200 parking spaces.
Taxi drivers have called on Essex Council, which designated the taxi waiting bays with a traffic order, to punish drivers who park in them.
But when the YA attempted to find our why no enforcement was taking place, no agency would take responsibility.
Essex Council said that although it had ordered the creation of the waiting bays, it had no responsibility for enforcing the rules.
County Hall referred the YA to the South Essex Parking Partnership (SEPP), run by Chelmsford City Council, saying it was responsible for enforcement.
But the SEPP responded saying that the owner of the car park – a Government body called the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) – had instructed it to stop enforcing there.
When the YA relayed the SEPP’s claim to the HCA, a spokesman denied the claim, saying: “We’ve never said anything like that. We have most definitely not asked the SEPP to stop enforcing parking restrictions. We don’t know where they’ve got that from, but it’s not us. Nobody has issued any such instructions to the SEPP.”
When the YA reported the HCA’s response back to the SEPP, it cited an Essex Council document which stated that the HCA had asked for the removal of the traffic regulation order.
The YA sent a copy of the document to the HCA and asked whether it could explain the claim. The Government body never replied.
Ralph Morgan, of the Basildon Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, said drivers were being prevented from working outside the station, which was damaging their income.
He called for Basildon Council to intervene in the ’chaos’, saying the taxi rank is one of the busiest in Essex, generating up to 700 journeys per day during the week.
He said: “Enough is enough. We are trying to earn a living and help commuters get about, to make this town more prosperous. We pay £390 a year in fees to the council and they have got a duty to sort this out so that we can go about our business. They have got to get off their bums and do something.”
However, the council said it had ’no further power to intervene in the matter’.