Taxi drivers say closure of road is costing 'thousands'
TAXI drivers say a controversial road closure aimed at protecting drinkers from being hit by cars has lost them "thousands of pounds".
Chief Inspector Steve Pont said shutting the Strand in Derby from midnight to 5am on Saturdays and Sundays would "help prevent collisions and injuries".
The road feeds into the bar area of the Wardwick. He said it was "a tight corner with a restricted view".
But drivers of private hire taxis say 40% of their business comes from these bars but they cannot access the Wardwick – a one-way street – when the Strand is shut. Meanwhile, the city's yellow Hackney cabs are able to access the Wardwick via Victoria Street.
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City councillor and taxi driver Gulfraz Nawaz said that the police were "making the job easier for themselves and not thinking about taxi drivers or shopkeepers" by advising Derby City Council to make the road closure.
He said: "The police stand there and let drinkers do what they want. They should be stopping them crossing the road when the cars come."
Faz Mansha, operations manager at Albatross Cars, said: "We lost thousands of pounds because of the closure last weekend. We have to tell customers to walk to another place to be picked up and, at that time of night, most of them are intoxicated.
"They see Hackney taxis are able to come down the road and think we're pulling their leg or get angry."
He added some disabled people would not be able to get to another pick-up point.
Ch Insp Pont said the road closure decision was made after taking the needs of all the businesses and visitors to the city centre into account.
He said: "We don't have the resources to line the Wardwick with officers to stop people crossing the road.
"Between midnight and 5am, there are thousands of people in that area and they are not all drunk. You could have a couple who have come out for a meal and a drink. Why should they be stopped from crossing the road?"
Victoria and Tony Jacobs say their Strand bakery, Baked, is also losing money. Mrs Jacobs used to park outside the bakery to start preparing food at 4.30am on Saturday but now starts later as she feels unsafe walking in the city in the dark, meaning she cannot prepare as much food by opening time.