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Woodbridge: Traffic ban clarification could affect disabled taxi passengers

09:15 06 March 2014

The Thoroughfare in Woodbridge

The Thoroughfare in Woodbridge

Archant

People with mobility problems may face a walk to pick up taxis after traffic restrictions were tightened up on a Suffolk street.

Cab drivers had been under the impression that they could pick up and drop off disabled passengers along Woodbridge’s restricted Thoroughfare.

But they have now been told their vehicles are not exempt from a ban on traffic between peak trading hours of 10am and 4pm.

The full scope of restrictions became clear after police contacted the county council for verification on the wording of a traffic regulation order dating back to 1995. They were told that the only exemptions were for residents, and for disabled drivers on Tuesday and Thursday.

Jon Watsham, who runs M&R Cars, said passengers with disabilities were likely to suffer as a result. “This is affecting our business and means we are not able to provide certain customers the service that they have become used to,” he added. “Our elderly and disabled customers are forced to struggle to meet the taxi at an area where vehicles are allowed.

“This can be a lengthy walk for somebody that is unsteady on their feet and this is surely the reason for a disabled badge.”

Suffolk County Council is understood to be considering an amendment to the regulation order which would give access to taxis - a move supported by Suffolk Coastal District Council, which said taxis provided a vital service for disabled customers unable to walk to specific pick up points, and for those unable to use public transport.

Woodbridge county councillor Caroline Page said: “I think that, due to the circumstances, there had been a blind-eye policy for taxis, but that cases of other vehicles disobeying regulations had recently been brought to the attention of police.

“It is unfortunate for people who may struggle, and I will urge the town council, police and highways to get together and find the best way to solve the problem. It may be that one or two taxis can be authorised to carry disabled passengers. We need a pragmatic solution.”

The traffic order was originally brought in to make the Thoroughfare a more pleasant area to shop and spend time.

1 comment

  • There's hardly a spot on the Thoroughfare that isn't pretty close to somewhere accessible to a taxi or other vehicle via side-streets or car parks. This is more about taxi drivers believing they should always be exempt from any traffic regulations than about helping disabled customers.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rail passengers travelling between London to Ipswich this morning are facing delays after ‘trespass incident’ between Colchester and Marks Tey.

The A14 Orwell Bridge will remain open today as Storm Doris looks to have passed - but it was a busy night for the emergency services as they dealt with the aftermath.

This year marks the 47th annual Ipswich to Felixstowe Road run - and as the organisers make their final preparations we look back to a particularly popular run in May 1995.

Pianos collectively worth £50,000 are being given away to schools and community groups.

Storm Doris has caused widespread disruption across Essex.

Nearly 11 hours after it was closed, motorists are now able to use the Orwell Bridge.

Ipswich’s MP has said work must continue to provide the town with alternative routes for diverted Orwell Bridge traffic in the wake of yesterday’s closure.

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