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Taxi drivers hit out at council proposals to reduce rank space

Hackney carriage drivers have hit out at the council over proposals to reduce taxi ranks outside Windsor Castle.

The Royal Borough plans to reduce the taxi rank in Thames Street by 19 metres, leaving 38 metres, and to add a rank of 12 metres outside the Theatre Royal.

The council says the proposals are part of its scheme to create more space in the town for pedestrians and cyclists to social distance as the country eases out of lockdown.

The widening of the path in Windsor is part of a set of changes in the town, which will be funded by a Government grant, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Hackney carriage representative Mohammed Naeem Sabir said drivers have been asking for more space for the last five to 10 years and said the drivers were not given enough consultation time.

He said: “To make such a big decision and not have us involved, much we feel is bad.”

He added drivers are prepared to protest if necessary.

Another driver, Mohammed Abbas said: “We can’t keep letting them kick us around like footballs.”

He said drivers were only notified of the consultation to discuss proposed changes on Saturday. The consultation closed yesterday (Thursday)

Mr Abbas has warned that people could lose their jobs if the changes go ahead.

“They are taking our livelihoods away,” he added.

Windsor taxi driver Munear Shabbir said: “There is a lot of anger and frustration about this.”

A spokesman from the Royal Borough, said: “As part of our proposed highways improvements focusing on creating safer places to walk and cycle in the borough while maintain-ing social distancing, it was suggested that the pavement on Thames Street, opposite the taxi rank, could be widened.

“This proposed measure would narrow the road slightly, meaning a short reduction in the length of the taxi rank is needed to allow traffic to pass. Alternative rank spaces have been found elsewhere in the town centre.

“We have been in consultation with the drivers to ask for their views on the proposed changes, and this consultation period ends on Thursday, July 2.

“We will take any feedback on board before finalising any plans in this scheme.”

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