Taxi rank move uber exciting for markets

Italiana deli owner Ersilia Festa, Fremantle Markets manager Natasha Atkinson and Cr Adin Lang hope to see the Cappuccino Strip-side free of taxis and full of alfresco diners. Photo by Steve Grant

FREMANTLE council is hoping to move the bus stop, taxi rank and loading bay outside Fremantle Markets so its shop owners can spill out onto the pavement and liven up a dead spot on the Cappuccino Strip.

Wednesday’s finance and policy committee approved the plan, which if successful would see the bus stop merged with one closer to Fremantle Hospital and expanded to become a “primary node” with CCTV, right outside the proposed police station.

City Ward candidate Adin Lang, who’s announced he’ll be re-contesting his seat in October’s elections, said another “light” stop could be created in between the train station and the new node, catering for a limited number of routes.

“What’s happening now is one bus stops for passengers to get on, the next one stops for passengers to get on and all the cars bank up,” Cr Lang said.

Complete 180

“There’s infinitely more room to have two bus stops off the road up where we’d have the primary node, so I think that could help solve the traffic issues.”

Cr Lang said the rise of Uber had disrupted the taxi industry, and an unexpected consequence had been making the taxi stand somewhat redundant.

“What started in 1999 as a place for people to queue up and wait for a taxi turned into a place for taxis to cue while waiting for people, so it’s done a complete 180.”

He said a couple of parking spots on Essex Street could be converted into taxi bays which were less disruptive than the current rank.

Fremantle Markets manager Natasha Atkinson said they were right on board and had committed to renovate the facade facing South Terrace.

“We had to have replica tiles made, so the whole South Terrace will be retiled and then we’ll buy all the alfresco furniture, umbrellas, petitions to kind of zone it and greenery,” Ms Atkinson said.

Ersilia Festa opened Italiana: The Mediterranean Deli in the markets about eight months ago and says being able to use the outdoor space could help realise her dream to give people a real experience of Italian culture.

“It’s not just about food; I want to provide music, art, painting, dancing.”

While the interview is interrupted by the occasional “Buongiorno Carlo” as another Italo-Australian comes in for their fix, Ms Festa says she really wants to connect with Aussies.

“Because it’s my way to share, and it’s my way to be inclusive.

“And peoples they come to hear my music and to be connected with a mindset.

“Italiana is a state of life, Italiana is not a state of mind.”

by STEVE GRANT

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