Brighton taxi rank battle continues

Published on by Kumni Fasanya (author), Tom Palmer (author)

A petition has been started online as taxi drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with negative results of the contentious taxi rank move at Brighton station. 

One taxi driver claims he has lost 30%-40% of his earnings from being at the back of the station. He added that he is prepared to break the rules by picking up his customers from the front, as he says it is "pointless" being hidden at the back.

The petition aims to fix the issues of the taxi rank relocation and currently has 1,111 signatures. They are aiming for 1,500.

Brighton and Hove City Council have said they will issue strict punishments, such as having their licence revoked, to those who are found to have been breaking the by-laws in place.

However, not all cabbies are supporting the protestors. Some drivers claim the taxi rank is working "very well" for them.

One cabbie said: "Those drivers [who] are protesting and working from the front, are doing it selfishly and they are taking jobs from their brothers at the back."

BBN spoke to a taxi driver who says he has the solution to the problem.

He believes to stop people breaking the rules, the station should be more regulated at the front as "all taxi drivers are required to have a permit to work at the back". 

For cabbies to work at Brighton station, they have to pay almost £900 a year for a permit. However, since moving from the rank at the front, they now have to share the new rank they pay for with; the public, private hire/uber cars and paying customers who queue waiting for taxis.

 

This brought up another issue for the drivers we spoke to regarding the health and safety of the public and their customers.

One driver said: "We need more health and safety guidance, because in this area when you have a queue of 50 passengers, plus the public and private hire cars… I guess you can judge the risk assessment for yourself… but someone is going to have a serious accident."

 The new rank can fit around 50 cars into it. However, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has issued 325 permits (that’s almost £300,000 in total at the station), so consequently when the rank isn’t busy, the taxis pile up, leaving drivers waiting up to an hour for a job.

Another cabbie said: "It’s a dangerous situation really, because [the taxi drivers] are working on the permit area driving around [the rank] and the public have no real direction where to go.

He added: "The Uber cars that are coming in, picking up and dropping off all the time are making it a bit difficult as the public are now walking in between the cars."

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