The provision of one extra taxi rank space for Newbridge has been voted in by local councillors.
Local taxi drivers had been looking for two spaces at the rank outside Michael Murphy's, but some councillors felt the figures did not merit the loss of the space to pay parking.
Cllr Joanne Pender (Ind) put forward a compromise to provide one space. It was suggested that in the meantime, the matter could be reviewed, other solutions could be explored as well as greater enforcement of out of hours illegal parking.
Officials had recommended the provision of two extra spaces and provided councillors at last Wednesday's (December 21) Municipal District meeting with data on the usage of the rank. They said that when the rank was full, taxis had nowhere to go and had to hover around the town.
Council official, Evelyn Wright said the council had discussed the matter of enforcement of out of hours illegal parking with the gardaí. She said they were also investigating the merits of a tow away service.
Cllr Paddy Kennedy (Ind) said he was aware of the issue. He asked the council if there was a need for the extra spaces.
Cllr Pender said the figures they showed the need was not there and it was hard enough for people to get parking in Newbridge already without reducing the spaces.
Cllr Sean Power (FF) said figures could be disputed and the existing four spaces was a small number. He said he was in favour of giving the extra two spaces.
Cllr Morgan McCabe (Ind) asked if the area near the entrance to Whitewater could be used to cater for the taxis.
Cllr Mark Stafford (FG) said there were a number of cars parking in the rank when it wasn't being used. He said illegal parking should be tackled to free up the existing spaces.
One of the council officials said there was a need for the extra spaces at peak times and the granting of the request would help develop the relationship between the council and the taxi drivers.
The role of taxi drivers in providing a service was also highlighted.
Cllr Mark Lynch (SF) said this debate had been coming up again and again. He said it comes down to enforcement. He said if the council was looking after the pay parking, it could get its own staff to out and enforce it on Saturdays.
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy said other solutions should be looked at, and if extra spaces were given, there should be a review done after six months.
One of the officials said the offer of one space might be seen as petty.
“I don't think its petty, I think it would be seen as a compromise,” said Cllr Pender.
Cllr McCabe said Dublin airport has a holding area where taxis wait for a space to become available and that could be something that could be looked at.
The motion for one space was supported by Cllr Pender, Cllr Stafford, Cllr Lynch and Cllr McLoughlin Healy. The motion for two spaces was favoured by Cllr Power, Cllr Kennedy and Cllr McCabe.
The proposal will now go on public display. Officials also promised to look at other solutions.