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Fears over safety of clubbers

PUBLISHED: 21:00 21 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:30 03 March 2010

TAXI drivers in Ipswich fear for the safety of young women travelling on the new night-bus.

A new late-night bus service will start this weekend after a successful trial of the NightSafe scheme over Christmas.

TAXI drivers in Ipswich fear for the safety of young women travelling on the new night-bus.

A new late-night bus service will start this weekend after a successful trial of the NightSafe scheme over Christmas.

But leading figures in the Ipswich cab community fear the NightSafe idea will not live up to its name.

Eric Pearl, secretary of the Ipswich Taxi Drivers' Association, said: "I have personally led a 12-month campaign in an attempt to convince the authorities that young females will be at risk when they leave the bus and walk alone to their homes.

"No bus service will ever be able to provide the safe door-to-door service that taxis can and the service will only be of use to people who live on top of a bus stop."

Mr Pearl said he believed all Ipswich's late-night travelling needs could be met by taxis, despite the 20 cross-town journeys starting this Friday.

And he highlighted an increase in the number of weekend cabs – up to 160 from the old figure of 130.

He said: "We change our work patterns to the real movement of passengers as they happen.

"We feel that the authorities should give more support to the existing taxi trade as we will always be the prime form of public transport late at night.

"Bus schemes like this in other areas have proved unsuccessful and usually get cut or disappear when subsidies run out.

"Taxis will always be there, 24 hours a day, all year round."

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