Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Brighton’s taxi drivers have started a petition to relocate the train station rank back to the front of the station, after frustrations from drivers and passengers over increased fares and traffic.
The decision taken by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to move the rank follows years of campaigning from local residents, who say nearby roads such as Surrey Street have become ‘permanent traffic queues’ as taxis and buses make their way to the southern entrance of the station.
According to taxi drivers, since the rank has moved to the rear of the station extra cabs are now getting stuck in Stroudley Road, when mixing with traffic accessing the main station car park and drop off point. This has meant increased fares for customers, much to the frustration of drivers and customers.
In the lead up to the move, local ward Councillor Lizzie Deane welcomed the news of the relocation, citing several meetings with both GTR and residents where she had urged the railway company to address the concerns about engine idling, traffic fumes, noise and late night disturbance.
According to industry representatives, GTR wanted to close the rank when the Rail Replacement Buses were in use. This would have left passengers with no taxi rank at all.
Provisions have since been made moving the rank even further away from the exit to the busy train station. This has led to the taxi industry offering an apology on behalf of the rail company to their customers, as passengers “are now getting soaking wet when queuing at the rank under the inadequate canopy”.
Andrew Peters, GMB taxi representative for Brighton and Hove, said in the petition summary: “The Brighton & Hove Taxi Trade would like to sincerely apologise for the chaos caused by the closure of the taxi rank at the front of the station and its relocation to the rear as this now directly affects anyone seeking to get a taxi there.
“Due to pressure from the council GTR (Govia Thameslink Railways) moved the rank against warnings from the taxi trade of the obvious problems of longer journeys and higher fares for customers.
“We warned of extra disruption for taxis trying to access and leave the rank with added traffic congestion in Fleet Street, New England Street & the North Laines area.”