TAXI drivers have renewed calls for a new rank after they were told to pay more to park at the front of Brighton station.

Cabbies in Brighton and Hove have been told by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) that their new parking operator Indigo Park Solutions is putting up the cost of its permits to £750 a year.

Bosses at Streamline Taxis have said the cost represents an increase of about £100 a year on the previous arrangement at Brighton Station and that its drivers now have to renew in January rather than when their current permit runs out.

The move adds fuel to the taxi company's case for citing a rank in Terminus Road at the side of the station, where drivers would not have to pay a permit cost as the road is owned by Brighton and Hove City Council.

John Streeter, vice chairman of Streamline, told The Argus: "We are absolutely livid. It is detrimental to the passengers and visitors of Brighton and Hove. It's not giving the customer the best service.

"We want a permanent rank in Terminus Road because it's open access to all taxis licensed by the council and would create a better service for the customer.

"It's a problem that consecutive councils have turned a blind eye to and it needs to be resolved."

Mr Streeter also raised concerns over the number of permits being issued with 300 permits available for 17 spaces inside the station.

Martin Harris, the managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, backed a Terminus Road taxi rank in March, saying it would reduce traffic and improve safety.

But residents complained that it would increase noise, congestion and pollution.

They have suggested a rank at the back of the station - a move which taxi drivers are against as cabs would be less visible to customers.

Indigo took over the running of the station forecourt after GTR won a new rail franchise in the summer.

A GTR spokesman said: "The increase in the cost of permits at Brighton Station equates to an additional 30p per day. £2.05 per day is the cost of a permit to operate from the station. We think this is excellent value for money.

"The taxi rank at Brighton Station is very popular with taxi drivers as it offers a good stream of revenue on a constant basis. We have received more than 1,200 applications for permits for next year and we will be issuing our usual 300.

"This figure ensures that our passengers do not have to wait long for a taxi and also limits numbers so the taxi queuing area does not overflow, causing problems for road users around the station."

Indigo had not responded by the time The Argus went to press.