CABBIES in Liskeard say they are furious after the council banned them from using a space in one of their designated ranks.
Drivers believe the facility on The Parade was intended for use by three cars, but in order to get into the third space, vehicles have to mount the pavement.
Cornwall Council has now banned cabbies from driving on the curb, stating the rank was never meant for three vehicles.
The move leaves the taxi fleet of more than 30 vehicles with just four spaces in the town centre, on The Parade and Bay Tree Hill.
Leon Hughes, proprietor of Quick Kabs which has four taxis, said the town desperately needs more rank space.
He said: “Cornwall Council have now told us we cannot use the third space. It is causing animosity between firms and friction in the town. To add insult to injury Cornwall Council has landed us with a new charge of £200 per vehicle plate licence without notifying us. They are putting up licence fees and they’ve taken a rank space away from us, it is so frustrating.
“There must be more than 30 taxis operating in the town and we have four official taxi spaces.”
Taxi drivers in Saltash are also angered by the rate rise. Bill Cotton, who runs Cottons Taxi Service, said: “The council adjusted the fees in December when they usually do it April to April. The increase has been a significant amount of money for us as we have ten drivers and a handful of cars. It is frustrating as we usually have a consultation, but we didn’t have that this time.”
Despite Mr Hughes’ best efforts, he has been unable to locate any information detailing the specifications of the rank on The Parade.
The council had planned to plough £10,000 into extending the rank in 2009, but plans were put off.
The issue is one of many problems taxi drivers in Liskeard are facing. According to the operators, motorists are continuing to clog up their ranks, which cannot currently be enforced due to signage and incorrect lines.
A forum is now due to be set up with members of the taxi trade and licensing representatives to try and iron out issues.
A spokesperson from Cornwall Council said: “When the rank was designated, it was designated for two vehicles only. It has never been designated as a three-vehicle rank.
“To access what is being referred to as the ‘third space’ the taxi has to cross over a pavement, or wait partly on the pavement until one of the two designated spaces are available, which is why drivers are being advised that they cannot operate in this way. In relation to the fees and charges, a public notice was given for the recent increase in charges. There were no objections and as a result the new fees were implemented.”