Taxi rank a filthy place and breeding ground for disease

When a river is flooded, dirt rises to the surface.

When a river is flooded, dirt rises to the surface.

This is true of the Bree Street taxi rank, which is the bane of passengers and taxi operators. The rank is so filthy that it is impossible to describe the stench that is now embedded in the walls.

The taxi drivers began complaining about the rank more than three years ago. The ceilings are made of cement but water flows down like rain in an open air stadium.

Unfortunately there is no sizzling soccer match to distract the passengers. The corridors, which are full of makeshift vending stalls, have little rivers blocking easy passage from the entrance to the taxi bays.

Every morning the vendors have to mop up scummy water from who knows where. One man who sells fake DVDs told me that the management of the taxi rank excused the mess by claiming that the water came from impromptu car washes.

This is a joke. Why should the dirty water start oozing at night until it forms into a little lake in the morning?

When the queue marshals complained about the blocked toilets, the mall management simply locked them. This means that the remaining toilets are overused. The taps leak and some are broken. A few stalls still have doors.

The toilets are used by those who are desperate or foolhardy. In these days of cholera and other ailments, those disease traps are a no-no.

This is only a description of the first mall. The second one across the street is a disaster. There is a water pipe that burst more than two years ago. It makes everyone's lives a misery. Yet nothing is done to repair it.

Last week, in sheer desperation, one of the largest taxi associations refused to pay rent and moved out to the old rank.

The old rank is an undeveloped piece of ground in the open. The association's timing could not have been worse.

Passengers now access their rides home in inches of mud, heavy rain and the cold. It is worse for those whose routes are busy. It means they have to queue in the rain for up to 10 minutes before they can get home.

I could not help thinking of the Americans who sue everyone at the drop of a hat. I think someone should import a few so that they can put the fear of God into the taxi rank management.

I can imagine someone from Bosmont suing for a broken leg from trying to cross the dam at the second rank. A clever woman from Orlando can sue the company because her best outfit has stains that refuse to come off.

The chic students on their way to Campus Square can sue because their new hairstyles have been soiled.

I can dream, can't I? The threat of losing the berthing fees has prompted the company to make repairs.