WHAT ARE TFL PLAYING AT?
By Peter J Rose
For well over a year now and following requests, the London Cabs Ranks Committee has been looking to place a new taxi rank in Enfield Town. To help achieve this aim, I – on behalf of the committee – have made at least three site visits to the area, looking for suitable locations. Two independently of TfL Ranks and Interchange, plus one site visit with TfL and a representative from Enfield Council.
The favourite location for a new taxi rank, one which would best serve the public and the local taxi trade was identified at being at Market Square, (see image at the top of this post). Which is probably the most obvious choice apart from Enfield Town Station. Somewhere for the record, TfL Ranks and Interchange are reluctant to go anywhere near. No doubt because of private property issues and an established private hire presence.
After many months of badgering TfL for progress on appointing the Enfield Market Square rank. A couple of months ago, the London Cab Ranks Committee – was informed in no uncertain terms – that TfL would not appoint a new rank at Market Square without a local driver survey being carried out. Wanting the Committee to guarantee that the new rank will be used. TfL also said that they would not carry out nor finance the driver survey. It would have to be carried out and paid for by the taxi trade. So as not to see this new taxi rank fall by the wayside, our colleagues and LCRC member, the LTDA agreed to resource the survey.
At the same time (more or less) Enfield Council launched a consultation on proposed new cycle schemes for the Enfield area. Enfield has been awarded nearly £30 million from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to improve cycling in the area. I was asked by the other members of the committee if I would complete the survey on behalf of the LCRC. Something which made perfect sense as, I had done the site visits.
Having set about the task of making the case for a taxi rank in what would be an essentially traffic free zone. It came as quite a shock to discover that Enfield Council have themselves placed a new Enfield Town taxi rank within the plans. Please click here. Not quite on Market Square, but certainly close enough to be negotiable.
As new taxi rank provision in Enfield is clearly in the mind of the council, (no doubt because of the LCRC site visits). the question has to be asked… Why were TfL Ranks and Interchange so insistent on the trade conducting and paying for a driver survey. And responding to the consultation? Were they unaware of Enfield’s plans? And if not, why not? The rank request is hardly a surprise. As said at the top of this report, its been on the Ranks agenda for over a year. Also remember that the GLA has awarded £30 million for the scheme. TfL must have known, it was they who informed the Ranks Committee of the consultation. Didn’t they read it?
For the record, I have written to TfL Taxi and Private Hire, outside of Ranks and Interchange for an explanation regarding this matter. As it goes completely against the spirit of the Cab Ranks and Suburban Action Plans. I will convey the outcome, hopefully in my next report. I have also written to the local Labour MP.
Also in the Enfield Plans, is the loss of the Lodge Drive taxi rank in Palmers Green. But the rank at Morrison’s Palmers Green is to be extended. The LCRC have not agreed to either proposal. Although it’s unlikely that we would oppose a rank extension.
Finally, it’s worth noting that TfL recognise Enfield as a hot spot for illegal minicab activity.