It has been revealed that cabbies in Bath fear that some may not survive in the industry due to restoration works taking place at the Abbey.
It was reported in Somerset Live that Bath Abbey's £19.3m Footprint project has caused the taxi industry financial hardship since work on the project began in May 2018.
Struggling cabbies have said that footfall in the area has dropped and they have become "invisible" to the public since hoardings were erected outside Bath Abbey.
Concerned cabbies have also said that because market chalets, which are usually set up by the shops at Orange Grove, were stationed elsewhere, Christmas trade had dropped significantly.
With some businesses already going out of business in the area, Bath taxi drivers feel that is only a matter of time before they are next.
One cabbie said that one of the problems facing taxi drivers in the area is that they simply cannot be found because the rank is shrouded by hoardings, also lorries parking by the Abbey exacerbates the problem.
As a result of this problem it is believed that some cab drivers are around 30% down on their takings.
Another cab driver claimed that the signage which indicates that there is a rank nearby is inadequate, which makes it difficult for the public to find them.
As a result of the problems faced by frustrated cabbies there have been calls for the rank to be moved nearer to the Guildhall. Another cabbie said that in his 10 years as a taxi driver it was the worst period he has ever encountered, adding that although he doesn't expect work on the Abbey to be halted, he does expect adequate signage erected to indicate where the taxi rank is.
One of the other problems faced by Bath's cabbies is that not all of the cabbies are allowed to work the station, and are therefore "forced" to stay put.
Alix Gilmer, director of the Footprint project stated that they have been working closely with Bath and North East Somerset Transport Services (BANES), ensuring that the taxi drivers in the area were kept informed of any plans or disruption to the Orange Grove rank area, going on to claim that several recommendations were put into place in an effort to minimise any adverse impact that the project may cause the industry.
A spokeswoman for BANES claimed that there had not been any formal complaints surrounding the Orange Grove taxi rank, and stated that taxis being booked through app-based services may be a contributory factor in the problems being faced by taxi drivers in the area.
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Image Author Roman Hobler