The ranks and highways team engaged with the BT Police at Victoria on Tuesday, regarding a solution to the problem of night time ranking facilities.
We spoke to a sergeant who was adamant it was not BTP officers taking numbers of drivers using the terminus place rank when the station is officially closed between 01:30 and 5am. He said this was probably Safer Travel Command or Met Police. He also said, the blatant disregard of the no-right turn sign/signs wasn’t the job of transport Police, as this was the province of the Met.
We discussed the possibility of keeping he RAFT exit open to allow passengers arriving on the Gatwick train to find Taxis waiting, rather than running the gauntlet of standing in the Buckingham Palace Road and being picked off by touts.
Th officer seemed sympathetic to our suggestions, but said he would have to speak to senior officers and would come back to us.
When he returned, his attitude had changed dramatically. He changed tact and admitted it was BTP officers who had taken numbers of Taxis on the rank and said they were blocking access to the bus station. He then said that it was totally unacceptable for Taxis to disregard the no left turn signs. He went on to point out that there are three signs that restrict entrance to Terminus Place to buses only.
As for the station exits at Hudson Place and the RAFT being closed after 01:30, he said this was a safety matter and the arrangements couldn’t be changed. He suggested we contact NetWork Rail.
His advise on a solution was unbelievable:
The officer suggests we form an orderly queue in Grosvenor Gardens facing away from the station, making use of the taxi ranks in Grosvenor Gardens and Hobart Place. We then wait patiently, till passengers start emerging from the front entrance. Then, in his words, we just turn a right, right, right and pick up the passengers using a rolling rank.
Regarding touting at the station, the sergeant suggested that any information such as registration numbers, time, date and place would be welcome and drivers can either phone, text or post to their twitter account.
Tele: 0800-40-50-40 (use landline or free 0800 number app as these calls are charged on mobiles)