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GEORGE STREET ACCESS: Edinburgh based PHV firm calls for same access as wheelchair accessible taxis

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Image credit: Edinburgh City Council

The owner of Capital Cars, a private hire vehicle (PHV) operator, has threatened legal action against Edinburgh Council's plan to ban PHVs from George Street once it has been pedestrianised.

Under the council's £36m project, George Street will be transformed into a 'cycling street,' with wider pavements and new traffic restrictions. Currently, up to 5,000 taxis and PHVs enter the street every day, with black cabs allowed access after its pedestrianisation, but not pre-booked PHVs, such as Uber.

It is thought drivers of black cabs have been handed access between 7pm and 10am due to their public and wheelchair accessibility offerings. PHVs can only be pre-booked so can pre-arrange a convenient pick-up spot.

According to STV, the owner of Capital Cars has however called for fair and equal treatment of both trades, suggesting that if one is banned, the other should be too. The council's transport convener, Councillor Scott Arthur, has argued that keeping access for both types of vehicles would diminish the aims of the scheme.

The final operational plan for Edinburgh’s George Street and First New Town (GNT) project was approved on Thursday 15 June along with updates to the proposed design.

Transport and Environment Committee members approved updates to the principles of the proposed GNT Operational Plan which include plans for the creation of a pedestrian and cycling zone where loading, servicing and licensed taxi access on George Street will only be permitted during evening and morning hours. At this stage, automated bollards will provide additional public safety measures and enforce the pedestrian cycling zone restrictions. Blue badge holders will still be able to park in disabled bays on George Street and the surrounding streets.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “In updating designs and operational plans for the GNT project, the project team has worked closely with the community, key stakeholders and elected members to develop proposals which will both enhance the space for all those travelling through and spending time in the area but also retain the First New Town’s unique historic value.

“We have also listened carefully to the Edinburgh Access Panel and have agreed blue badge holders should have full access to up to 27 blue badge spaces in the George Street and First New Town area.

“This latest update marks an exciting milestone in the GNT project and it will allow us to move forward with the final stages of development before construction begins.”


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