Unofficial cab rank causes chaos on busy Islington road

An unofficial cab rank on a busy Islington high street has left traders incandescent with rage because customers and deliveries can’t get to their stores.

Shopkeepers in Essex Road, Islington, say taxis have been waiting in marked bays between the junctions of Dibden Street and Greenman Street since the turn of the year, stopping visitors from parking.

The maximum anyone is allowed to stay is two hours, but the traders insist that the cabbies hang around all day, and refuse to move along despite the best efforts of the council and traffic wardens.

Sanjay Patel, who works at Food City, in Essex Road, said: “It’s a big problem because the minicabs sit there all the time and they stop the deliveries coming. Then the trucks have to stop in the middle of the road and cause traffic jams, and sometimes they just drive off.

“I ask the taxis to move just a little bit, but they say ‘why should we’. Then when the traffic wardens come, they drive round the corner and come back when they are gone.”

Another disgruntled trader is Lynn Alexander, owner of Haggle Vinyl on Essex Road, which recently featured in a TV advert for Yell.

He said: “It seems there is nothing we can do about it - when they park three deep it’s like a cab rank and customers can’t stop. I’ve been in talks with the council for four months, but nothing has changed.”

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Aka Ceyhan, a controller at Ascot Cars, a mincab office across the road from the bays, says sometimes the taxis have no option.

He said: “Our drivers normally park around the corner, but when there is no space they park on Essex Road for a little bit, but they always pay. We have received complaints in the past, so I have told the drivers not to do it.”

Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We are aware of two minicab companies in Essex Road whose drivers have been causing nuisance parking and we’ve been taking action. We’ve already spoken to the management of both companies and to the drivers on several occasions. We’ve made it quite clear that their drivers should be parking legally.”

He added: “At a three-hour enforcement operation on Wednesday (June 1) we issued 11 parking tickets to minicabs in and around the two-hour bays in that area.”