Bournemouth taxi rank closure plan 'recipe for disaster'

Plans to close a Bournemouth town centre taxi rank are a "recipe for disaster" and will compromise passenger safety, some drivers have claimed.

The council's licensing board earlier voted to support the authority's plan to shut the Horseshoe Common rank.

It said it aimed to disperse people from the overcrowded area to ranks about 600 yards (550m) away.

Bournemouth Taxi Drivers' Association said it would leave passengers in a "vulnerable" situation at night.

'Throng and crush'

John Tye, chairman of the association, said the plan was also likely to aggrieve "drunk" passengers who would have to travel further afield for their taxi, making them more aggressive towards drivers.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, chairman of Bournemouth Borough Council's licensing board, said: "There is currently a throng and a crush late on Friday and Saturday nights at Horseshoe Common with hundreds of people trying to negotiate a narrow bit of pavement near take-away queues and railings.

"We are aiming for the safer and faster dispersal of these people by moving them to areas where there is more space."

He said it would also make the area more "family friendly" and added signs would divert passengers to an existing rank at Westover Road and new ones on Christchurch Road and Richmond Hill Road.

"I think we should give people some credit for being able to read a sign and to learn where the new taxi ranks are going to be," he said.

The licensing board also agreed to explore extra funding to combat unlicensed taxis operating in the town centre.

The plans, which form part of a wider regeneration of Horseshoe Common, go before the council's cabinet on Wednesday.

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