CAB drivers in Stafford are lobbying borough bosses for more taxi ranks as the town prepares for huge commercial growth.With the upcoming Riverside and Kingsmead developments set to drive retail expansion in the coming years, drivers are concerned they will not have enough spaces to ply their trade.
Cabbies are also concerned that current provision is inadequate and often forces them to park illegally to get business.
The Stafford Taxi Assocation told Stafford Borough Council’s joint parking committee it wants to see the Bridge Street Service Road rank extended to the nearby pedestrianised area.
It also wants to see more spaces at Broad Street rank, where drivers face “a daily battle with traffic wardens”, and suggest Broad Eye could be used for overflow.
The association also suggests new ranks could be introduced at Pilgrim Street, where taxi drivers already operate illegally, and Market Square.
A Stafford Taxi Assocation spokesman said: “The main problem with the Bridge Street rank is the shared access with disabled vehicles, resulting in no spaces being available for taxis.
“This forces drivers to park illegally by the railings to earn a living.
"Could the disabled parking not be moved to the opposite side of the road?
“The taxis on the Broad Street Market Rank have a daily problem because there aren’t enough spaces to meet public demand.
“If, as predicted, Stafford’s population continues to expand, there must be adequate bays to meet that demand.
“Broad Eye would make an ideal overflow road. Drivers know this would mean having to move to allow deliveries to Wilkinsons and the Lamb and would be happy to do so.
“Most people agree that having a rank back near Market Square would be a great idea as all our ranks are currently a good walk from the town centre.
“People feel the ranks are too far away when laden with bags of shopping and kids.”
Borough council officer Robert Simpson said: “Our car parking strategy review for Stafford town centre is already under way and we’re committed to looking at taxi rank provision.
“With new retail developments, the dynamics of the town will change significantly and we clearly need to accommodate that.”