Taxi rank is not for parking

PEOPLE are not taking the taxi rank between the Kyle Centre and Laois Shopping Centre seriously and are continuing to use it as a parking area, prompting town councillors to call for additional signs to be installed warning shoppers not to leave their cars there.

PEOPLE are not taking the taxi rank between the Kyle Centre and Laois Shopping Centre seriously and are continuing to use it as a parking area, prompting town councillors to call for additional signs to be installed warning shoppers not to leave their cars there.

At the recent town council meeting, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald requested Laois County Council to review the taxi rank, which she said many local taxi drivers wished to retain.

“I’ve been chatting to a few taxi drivers and they all want to retain it,” she said, adding that she knew of ordinary motorists who had got parking tickets for parking their vehicles there.

“Can we put up more signs?” she suggested. “People are not taking it seriously as a taxi rank.”

“I’d like to see an extra sign at eye level, on the existing pole,” said Cllr Jerry Lodge.

“If you park here you’ll be fined,” suggested Cllr Fitzgerald.

Council engineer, Mr Farhan Nasiem said that there are already road markings there and the council can not do any more.

“It’s clearly signed, it won’t make any difference if we put two or three signs there,” he said.

“It’s fairly obvious you can’t park there, what’s needed is enforcement,” added town manager, Mr Michael Rainey.

Cllr Rotimi Adebari also said that there was nothing more the council could do, except have traffic wardens patrolling the area.

Meanwhile, Cllr Kathleen O’Brien offered a lone voice of dissent, calling for the taxi rank to be scrapped altogether.

“Taxi drivers are not using it, I’ve never seen them there,” she said. “Why have it as a taxi rank if they’re not going to use it?”

“I’ve seen them using it, I spoke to the taxi drivers,” countered Cllr Fitzgerald.

“I wouldn’t like to see it being taken away,” said Cllr Caroline Dwane. “I’ve spoken to drivers and they said they couldn’t use it as people were parking there. Members of the public are parking very dangerously.”

“We should look at (an extra sign) as a safety measure,” said Cllr Willie Aird.

“Well, if the sign doesn’t work I want (the rank) removed,” declared Cllr O’Brien.

The councillors were informed in a response from the roads department that the county council will contact taxi companies in Portlaoise to ascertain the use of the rank before proposals to make changes are reviewed.