AIRDRIE’S taxi rank is finally in place – but is currently being used as nothing more than a town centre parking bay.
The designated six-vehicle stance in Stirling Street was marked out two weeks ago, but the necessary signage indicating that parking is forbidden has not yet been installed.
It means that no sanctions can yet be taken against motorists who ignore the painted road markings to park there, and cabbies therefore are unable to take up residence in their constantly-blocked new home.
Although workers from North Lanarkshire Council completed work on the rank more than two weeks ago, it is expected to be at least another month before the crucial roadside signs are in place.
Peter Gunn, the chairman of Airdrie Taxis and both the Monklands District and North Lanarkshire Taxi Trade Associations, admits the delay is frustrating after a lengthy campaign for the facility.
He said: “It’s a rank in name only for the moment until there are signs on the lampposts, because until then, the police can’t enforce anything.
“It’s frustrating for the drivers not to be able to use it now that it’s in place, as we’ve wanted and needed it for a long time.
“Having a taxi rank in Airdrie is a real improvement as it’s the first we’ve had in the town, but its location is far from ideal.
“To go to Gartlea and Thrashbush, drivers will have to go to right to the bottom of the town and turn, so it’s a long way round to get to any point at the east or north of Airdrie.
“Our unofficial rank at Bank Street works very well, but it causes a problem in terms of traffic build-up as that area of the town centre is pretty narrow.
“However, it’s an improvement as we’ve been on at the council about this issue for years and years and they’ve finally addressed it.
“We really need a rank at Airdrie railway station; it’s probably the only station of that size in Britain that doesn’t have one, so we’ll be continuing to try to bring that about.”
Airdrie’s taxi drivers had been campaigning for three decades for an official rank in the town, and were finally successful 10 months ago.
North Lanarkshire’s licensing committee agreed that the facility was needed after more than 2000 local residents and drivers wrote letters of support.
Alex Ramsay, the council’s traffic and transportation team leader, said: “An official sign will be erected to indicate that the new taxi rank in Stirling Street is now operational for six cars, and this is expected to be in place in the next four to six weeks.”