FOLLOWING eight months of disputes, hackney carriage drivers will be reclaiming the taxi rank outside Winchester Railway Station.

Wintax’s four-year tender to use the bays directly outside the station is being abolished, starting from next month, after the pre-booked taxi company agreed to a new deal with South Western Railway which will see the hackney drivers take back the rank.

Tensions were sparked in the summer after Wintax secured the rank for its pre-booked only vehicles, forcing the hackney cabs, which can be hailed in the street, to the other side of the road and confusing customers.

The Chronicle reported widespread unhappiness especially from the elderly and disabled over the confusion and the crossing of the carriageway outside the downside platform.

READ MORE: Wintax takes over taxi rank by Winchester Train Station after SWR deal

A management spokesperson from Wintax said: “Due to pressure from the hackney drivers South Western Railway has ended our contract after this month.

“We could have appealed the decision but we have obliged. We’re not fighting it. We’re not going to cause a fuss as we’re so busy and customers can still call us.

“It’s disheartening but we’re still the largest taxi company and this is not necessarily going to harm us. If they are willing to put up this much of a fight we thought we should let them have it. They rely on picking up from the station and do not have the same luxury as we do as a company.

“We don’t need the train station, we are a very good and well-known company. With all the grief we have had it’s just not worth it.

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“Having the rank has been great – some customers have loved it and others haven’t but there have been more positives and negatives.

“It’s a shame and we’ve put a lot of hard work into it but we get it from both sides. Everybody has to make a living. We were offered the contract and we took it and believed it would improve safety for customers as we can track our taxis.

“South Western Railway has listed safety reasons with all our boards being up and a member of staff being there all the time.”

Wintax said the new deal was confirmed earlier this month. A spokesman for SWR said: "We can confirm that, following feedback from our customers and colleagues, Hackney vehicles will provide taxi services for our customers at Winchester station from Friday, March 1."