TAXI ranks in Warrnambool and Portland will be spruced up with new seating, shelters, toilets and lighting on the cards.
In a combined initiative between state and local government, Warrnambool’s Gilles Street rank and Portland’s Henty Street equivalent will be renovated to improve comfort and safety for commuters.
Premier Denis Napthine inspected the Gilles Street rank yesterday, located near the old Warrnambool post office, and met with taxi company operators and cab drivers to discuss the plans.
The state will contribute $60,000 to the Warrnambool project and $14,000 to the Portland upgrade, topping up cash already committed for taxi ranks in both cities.
“The Gilles Street rank is very busy on Friday and Saturday nights due to the pubs and nightclubs but it’s used right through the week as well,” the South West Coast MP said.
“We’ll see new shelters, lighting and signage as a result of this upgrade. It’s important that people can get home safely at whatever time — day or night — and this funding will make sure we can achieve that as well as improving the overall look of the area.”
Warrnambool City Council chief executive Bruce Anson said the Gilles Street rank was used by shoppers at the southern end of the CBD, families eating out in the restaurant end of Liebig Street as well as pub and nightclub patrons.
“This is a major part of improving pedestrianisation around this part of the city,” Mr Anson said.
“It will also improve the appearance and usability of the rank itself.” Warrnambool 13CABS co-director Rod Woodbridge said the Gilles Street rank had been in need of an upgrade for some time and believed extra lighting would improve safety in the area.
He said both his company and Warrnambool Radio Taxis welcomed the funding for improvements.
“People want to go home safely and the extra lighting is part of making them feel comfortable while they’re waiting for a taxi,” Mr Woodbridge said.