THE current taxi rank at Brighton Railway Station is “untenable” and a new solution is required, a senior councillor has admitted.
Transport committee chairwoman Gill Mitchell said the current situation was “not working for anyone” but said meetings on finding a solution with landowner Govia Thameslink Railway had been “optimistic”.
The loss of sleep from late-night rank traffic has left some residents signed off work with depression or stress, the council committee heard this week.
Taxi drivers said only the complete overhaul of the road system could resolve an issue that has been persisting for more than a decade.
More than 20,000 taxi journeys are made to and from the station every week with more than 1,100 taxis licensed to use the 17 taxi rank spaces.
The problem is said to have worsened since the completion of the £1.5 million Brighton Station Gateway Development two years ago.
Residents want the taxi rank to either be moved to the back of the station or for the council to compulsory purchase nearby Mangalore Way for an overflow taxi rank.
Charlotte Glasson said Surrey Street had become gridlocked with an unofficial taxi rank blocking the road even to emergency services.
She said: “The last train from London arrives at Brighton Station at 2.32am and then bin lorries and deliveries start up very early, so sleep is very difficult.
“Residents have been signed off work due to depression and stress from lack of sleep due to horns beeping at all ours, as the road layout is not working.”
Cllr Mitchell said part of the problem was the rank was currently on private land owned by GTR.
She said: “It is like living next door to a supermarket which only has 17 car parking spaces with a line of cars trying to access it.
“GTR issue hundreds of permits for just 17 spaces and obviously taxi drivers want to use that rank to recoup the expense of buying the permit. It is totally untenable.
“It needs to be addressed but it has not come totally to fruition although possibilities are being looked at.
“The current situation is not helping anyone and it is working for anyone.”
John Smith, GMB taxi rep, said: “The solution would be a complete and utter redesign of the roads around the station and I can’t see that happening with the current Government cuts. What has happened over the last ten years has made it almost impossible to get in and out.
“We are the biggest city without a public taxi rank out the front of its station.
“GTR make much more money from having retail out the front of the station then a taxi rank, that’s the bottom line.
“There was talk about moving the rank round the back but most passengers want to go down to the seafront so that’s going to cost more and add congestion and pollution.”
A Southern spokesman said: “We appreciate the concern about the current impacts of the Station Gateway Development on roads adjacent to the station, and we are taking this matter very seriously.
“We are working with the council to try and reach a solution and explore options that may address the concerns of all affected.”