Published in Inner West Courier, 9 April 2017
POLICE and security guards have started patrolling a new taxi rank in Newtown in a bid to curb assault rates and reduce traffic chaos from late-night revellers hailing cabs along King St.
Three security guards have been employed to oversee the safety of patrons and taxi drivers at the cab rank (outside the Commonwealth Bank) near Whateley Lane.
Working from 10pm to 5am on Friday and Saturdays, the patrolled rank with seven taxi spots is an initiative of City of Sydney’s Late Night Transport Working Group and Newtown LAC.
Newtown police duty officer Acting Inspector Christine McDonald said the launch of the taxi rank was quiet, possibly due to people not being aware of it.
“We had three dedicated police officers for the taxi rank and they could have drawn on other officers if required but it was very quiet,” Act-Insp McDonald said.
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre chief executive Liz Yeo said the patrols were one of the ideas identified to keep King St “weird, vibrant and safe”.
“While there’s been a lot of positive feedback coming from the community meetings there are still concerns over late-night levels of harassment,” she said.
“We’re still pushing for late-night public transport options but having that added security is a really good outcome.”
The measures come as weekend visitation numbers in Newtown continue to soar fuelled by revellers ditching the CBD lockout zones for King St.
Newtown state Greens MP Jenny Leong has supported the move, saying problems were occurring when people were rejected from venues.
“What we know is that one thing worse than a drunken idiot on the street is a drunken idiot who can’t get a taxi home,” she said.