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People travelling to Southend Hospital using public transport could soon be able to reach the hospital faster under plans to relocate taxi ranks and bus stops.
Under the proposals from Southend Council, two separate taxi ranks outside the hospital will be scrapped and replaced with a single rank of equal size on Prittlewell Chase, replacing all existing bus stops.
In turn, the bus stops will then take over the space the taxi ranks had previously occupied, allowing passengers to leave the buses nearer to the hospital entrance.
The moves are expected to relieve some of the congestion around the hospital during peak times which often causes traffic to queue over the bus stops. This leaves passengers having to climb on and off the bus in the road.
Over the past four weeks, the council has held a public consultation to find out the views of those involved, including taxi companies and bus companies, but so far they have not received any objections.
Councillor Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, said: “The application to revoke and reinstall the taxi stands outside Southend University Hospital came about due to a public safety issue where bus passengers had no choice but to disembark in the road instead of at the bus stop, due to queuing traffic for the car park.
“By moving the two separate, existing taxi ranks, into one new larger rank and relocating the bus stops we hope to alleviate the risks. The public consultation closes on August 30 and following evaluation of the results, the proposal will be discussed further at the licensing meeting.
“There needs to be multiple transport options for people visiting the hospital but likewise those options must ensure the safety of passengers and be of minimal risk to public safety.”
The changes are also being made in anticipation of hospital plans to further reduce congestion with the creation of a new ring road in early 2020.
Eamon Malone, chief estates and facilities officer for Mid and South Essex University Hospitals Group, said: “As part of our overall estates redevelopment strategy, advanced plans are in place to create a ring road within the hospital grounds, linking the various car parks together. This will potentially make it easier for patients and visitors to move around the hospitals and help alleviate or remove traffic queuing on the local roads.
“The development of the Southend Hospital site is dependent on our being able to access the £118 million of investment allocated to support our clinical service changes, which were referred to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care last year by Southend and Thurrock Councils.”
The taxi rank plans was due to be discussed by Southend’s licensing committee on Thursday.