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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 14:00 GMT
Taxis in dispute with ferry firm
Glyn Taylor
Glyn Taylor for West Cowes taxis wants negotiations with Red Funnel
A row has broken out between taxi operators and an Isle of Wight ferry company after cab drivers found their vehicles clamped during a coffee break.

Seven taxis were clamped while drivers had a morning coffee on Tuesday.

Ferry company Red Funnel, which owns the Fountain Yard pick-up point at the West Cowes terminal, said it brought in new restrictions to ease congestion.

But taxi drivers say they will be put out of business if the new restrictions remain in place.

Glyn Taylor, a spokesman for Cowes taxi proprietors, said: "I think it's disgusting.

Steps should be taken to alleviate the problem of congestion and improve the flow of traffic
Red Funnel
"We've been operating here for 30 to 40 years without a hitch.

"Red Funnel have taken it upon themselves to cease trading with the council and basically cancel the taxi rank and open it to a private hire operator.

"They are dictating to the customer which taxi firm they have to use."

Passengers taking the Red Funnel ferry from Southampton to West Cowes on the Isle of Wight, are directed to use an "approved taxi concession" at the ferry terminal.

In a statement the company said taxi operators were already aware of the changes.

It added: "These steps were taken following an Isle of Wight Council sponsored report recommending that steps should be taken to alleviate the problem of congestion and improve the flow of traffic.

"The maximum waiting time is 10 minutes, and this is closely monitored by an approved Isle of Wight Council clamping operator."

Mr Taylor, who said they have been given three taxi rank spaces outside a nearby store, says they are now keen to open negotiations with Red Funnel.

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