Getting around by car:
Central Edinburgh is a nightmare to drive in, particularly the Old Town with its tangle of medieval streets with their associated one way systems. The New Town fares slightly better, but the scourge of the city is the infamous parking attendants, locally known as "Blue Meanies" who mercilessly swoop on vehicles which may have only been illegally parked for a matter of minutes. Edinburgh operates a "controlled parking zone" - on-street parking is illegal within a large central area (see map www.edinburgh.gov.uk/.../map) without a residents parking permit. Parking fines are £40 and vehicles parked in an obstructive manner are liable to be towed away with a £150 release fee to be paid for its retrieval. Even the suburbs (especially Morningside, The Grange, The Meadows) have little parking available (and on-street parking is illegal within the controlled parking zone). Take a bus and/or walk. Leith seems to fare a bit better for parking, but there's no guarantee. Park and Ride facilities provide access to the city center www.parkandride.net/.... Additionally, drivers should take heed of tram construction blocking Princes Street.
Getting around by taxi:
Like most major British cities, Edinburgh offers a choice between Black Cabs, carrying up to 5 passengers, which can be hailed on the street, and minicabs, which must be pre-booked. Black cabs display an orange light above the windscreen to indicate that they are available to hire. It's usually quite easy to find a cab in and around the city centre, and on the main radial routes running out of the centre. There are also Taxi Ranks dotted around the city, where black cabs will line up to be hired. Taxi Rank locations include:
- Outside the main entrances of Haymarket and Waverley train stations.
- Opposite the Caledonian Hotel and Sheraton Hotel (both near the West End), The George Hotel (east end of George Street) and the Crowne Plaza Hotel (High Street, Royal Mile).
- St Patrick's Square, off South Bridge
- Leith Bridge, close to The Shore and Commercial Quay, in Leith
The main taxi firms operating within the city are:
- Central Radio Taxis (Black Cabs) - 0131 229 2468
- City Cabs (Black Cabs) - 0131 228 1211
- Festival Cars (minicabs - mostly saloon cars but also have people carriers with up to 8 seats. Let them know the number in your party when you book) - 0131 552 1777
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