Saturday, April 13, 2013
Dundee cabbies hit out at ‘nasty’ bus drivers
Police are targeting cabbies in Dundee city centre following “confrontations” with bus drivers.
Rising tensions over a lack of rank space has seen city centre stand-offs, with cabbies angry that bus drivers are taking pictures of their cars with mobile phones.
Unmarked cars are now patrolling Nethergate and warnings are issued to taxi drivers parked illegally. More than 50 cabbies have been cautioned since the crackdown began at the turn of the year.
Robert Griffin, who has been running a taxi for 40 years, said: “It’s pandemonium here most days. Half the time we have to line up on the other side of the road but then the bus drivers go off their heads at us.”
Chris Curran, who has been driving taxis for 20 years, said: “There have been quite a few confrontations with bus drivers, mostly trading insults. It’s pure nastiness.
“They also take pictures of us and report us. I can understand the bus drivers’ point of view but they’re salaried. We’re just trying to make a living and we need to get hires.”
Taxi driver Margaret Duncan was cautioned last week. She said: “The police have been coming down to Nethergate in unmarked cars. On Friday they were issuing warnings.”
Cabbies have called on the council to create more bays for their cars so that they do not have to break the rules. There are more than 600 drivers in Dundee.
Chris Elder, taxi branch secretary of Unite union, who represents 140 full-time drivers in the city, said: “There are drivers verbally shouting at each other but the council is the problem — they’re flooding the town with taxis and not providing enough rank space.”
Bus passengers have warned that illegal parking could compromise their safety.
A pensioner, who asked not to be named, said: “There’s going to be an accident because we have to cut between taxis to get on the bus.”
Another passenger who contacted The Courier anonymously said: “On Tuesday there were three taxis parked at the traffic lights and the bus stop.
“I got on the bus and I could see the anger on the bus driver’s face. He had to stop at the bottom of the bus stop and everyone had to walk to the opposite side.”
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said 56 warnings have been issued since a protocol for dealing with abuse of bus stops was agreed by councillors late last year.
The spokesman added: “Any third offenders will be reported to the licensing committee with a recommendation that their licences be suspended. No one is in this category yet.”
A spokeswoman for National Express Dundee welcomed the crackdown.
She said: “We regularly receive complaints from passengers about taxis blocking the bus stops in Nethergate and we are assisting Dundee City Council in investigating this issue.
“One of the ways our drivers are encouraged to help is by taking photos, when safe to do so, of vehicles which are blocking bus stops as this can provide clear evidence of the problem.”
A police spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the matter and where appropriate, suitable action is taken.”
Posted by Editorial at 4:20 PM