Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Council votes to keep existing taxi arrangements

Ever since the new council started work, there have been complaints from local taxi drivers that they are not allowed to pick up fares across the county but are still restricted to the old North Cornwall area.

In reality, most Launceston taxi drivers will want to remain working in the town and the surrounding area. It is the area they know best and where they have a large number of 'regulars'. But, because we have no rail stations in North Cornwall and because passengers often want to be taken to Newquay Airport or even to Truro, drivers want the flexibility to be able to ply for trade there rather than having to drive back empty.

The situation is compounded for drivers in Bodmin. Bodmin Parkway station is actually in the old Caradon area and so Bodmin based drivers who wanted to pick up at the station had to be licensed by both NCDC and Caradon councils.

Today the Council discussed whether or not to change from six zones to a single zone covering the whole of Cornwall. Drivers in the old NCDC, Caradon and Penwith areas wanted a single zone whilst those in the centre of the county favoured keeping six areas.

It was clear that there was not enough support for a single zone even though Bodmin Lib Dem Ann Kerridge made the case quite forcefully. And so Bodmin Conservative Lance Kennedy and myself made a compromise proposal. We wanted to keep six zones for the coming year but to have a review after 12 months by which time the Bodmin Parkway situation could be sorted and a scheme for three zones considered. This proposal was narrowly defeated.

And so we keep six zones and Bodmin drivers wishing to pick passengers up from the railway station need two licenses from the same authority.

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