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Epsom's black cab drivers yearn for return to pole position
Epsom's black cab drivers say they have lost vast amounts of trade by not being based outside Epsom station
Black cab drivers are demanding to be allowed back outside Epsom Station - claiming the location of their current taxi rank is costing them a fortune.
Sheila Siggers and up to 50 other black cab drivers, used to be based right outside the Epsom station entrance before development work started on the site two years ago.
Last week they launched a petition opposing Surrey County Council's (SCC) decision to keep them there even after the development work is finished.
Mrs Siggers, from Epsom, said the current rank, which is further up Station Approach, a few metres to the west of the pedestrian crossing, means people leaving the station cannot easily see the black cabs and are choosing to walk home or find a mini cab in the high street instead.
The 58-year-old said: "Just before Christmas I earned £33 in one day, and £20 of that was spent on petrol.
"People are thinking ‘we’re not going to walk up there’ and walk home instead.
"Why can’t Epsom be like all other stations and have a black cab rank right outside? People want to come out of the station and walk straight into their cab.
"I’ve lost my house in the last two years. I just couldn’t afford it anymore so I moved in with my mum.
"Drivers are having to work longer hours now because they have less jobs. I know the economic situation isn’t great and we expected trade to drop a bit, but we’re not really making anything."
A SCC spokeswoman promised the public will be consulted on the decision.
She said: "This was raised as a concern at a meeting of our committee for Epsom and Ewell, and a working group was formed of a number of interested parties including affected taxi drivers.
"The group suggested a solution that would include 16 or 17 taxi spaces in Station Approach - a rank on the north side and a feeder on the south side. The proposal also includes space for buses, loading and kiss 'n' ride.
"Realising that many people, including local residents and commuters, will have an interest in this, the committee has decided to undertake public consultation."
Mrs Siggers said each black cab driver has a petition in their cab which can be signed, and that 60 customers have signed her petition so far.