Controversy over location of taxi rank
WHITSUNDAY taxi drivers have expressed concern about a proposal to move the taxi rank on the Airlie main street to a new location in front of the supermarket.
Drivers and cab owners say the proposed location has very sharp entry and exit angles, narrow pathways for queuing customers, a lack of shelter and no wheelchair or pram access.
They also say it was previously understood the rank would return to its original location once the main street upgrade was complete and the news of a new location has come as a surprise.
The reason for the move is that the proposed bus stop location was apparently not workable, hence the suggestion that buses be moved to the site of the existing taxi rank.
A TransLink spokesperson confirmed the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) had been consulting with Whitsunday Regional Council regarding suitable locations to accommodate both taxis and buses.
"WRC proposed to move the buses up to a kilometre away from [the] main street, which was rejected by DTMR on the basis that taxi ranks and bus stops should be located closer to the business hub to allow for easy accessibility" the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said DTMR representatives met with Council on July 9 to inspect and discuss suitable new locations of bus stops and taxi ranks.
As a result, Council was to provide plans for the relocation of both the bus stops and taxi ranks, which would have the taxi rank located outside the Airlie Beach supermarket with the same number of bays, and the bus stop located at the site of the existing taxi rank. A bus stop on the opposite side of main street, near Magnums, was also proposed.
The spokesperson said Council had recently started work on these relocations, "without any plans being provided or approved by DTMR".
"DTMR has reminded WRC that all infrastructure needs to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act," the spokesperson said.
However, mayor Jennifer Whitney says this is not her understanding of the situation and that she is "actually happy to revisit it".
"Council is happy to work with Main Roads and Transport to get the best outcomes for the community," she said.
Mackay/Whitsunday Taxis general manager Gary Button said he was hopeful the matter would be resolved at a meeting between all parties next week.