COMMUTERS may be confused today by an absence of taxis from a railway station forecourt.

This is because the Brighton Station taxi rank has been moved from the front of the building to the back.

Private hire cars will now pick up and drop off passengers in Stroudley Road.

There is an alert on Southern Rail's website informing people of the change and there have also been several signs placed around the station to alert passengers to the switch.

They state: "From November 11, the taxi rank will be relocated to the North Entrance in Stroudley Road."

The plans were revealed early last month by Govia Thameslink Railway.

The forecourt will now be turned into a “welcoming covered pedestrian plaza”, the company explained.

GTR’s lead facilities manager Karl McCormack said said: “The current taxi rank has outgrown the southern entrance – with queueing along Junction Road and Surrey Street now a regular occurrence.

“We have received many representations over a number of years about this issue.

“In response to comments from residents, the local authority and local MPs, we have listened and devised this plan to meet these concerns.”

The move was praised by St Peter’s and North Laine Green party councillor Lizzie Dean.

She said: "Residents will be pleased that GTR has finally taken the decision to relocate the taxi rank to the rear of the train station, freeing up the narrow residential streets they live on from traffic fumes, congestion and noise.

“This news will be particularly welcomed by people living on Surrey Street and Upper Gloucester Road where day-long traffic queues have become commonplace.

“Greens repeatedly urged the railway company to acknowledge residents’ concerns, arranging public meetings and also raising this at council committees.

“The existing arrangement has been far from ideal, even for car drivers as Surrey Street in particular has become overly congested.

“Buses also find it hard to get through to the station.”

But cabbie Gavin Castle, 48, from Patcham, raised concerns over the likely increase in journey times to the seafront – as taxis would have to leave the station travelling in the opposite direction.

He said: “In New England Road (where taxis will exit the new rank) at peak times, it can be murder to even move.

“If you have got to go from the back of the station to the seafront it will probably add on 20 minutes to your journey and add another 50 per cent on to many passengers’ fares.

“I feel so sorry for the people who will have to queue up for the cabs and whose journeys will take longer.”

Mr McCormack said: “The relocation of the rank and the ongoing redevelopment of the northern entrance is a partnership initiative between GTR and Brighton and Hove City Council.

“It will deliver a new look to both entrances, a new, larger taxi rank and an improved transport interchange for our passengers, which in turn will reduce congestion.

“We also recognise the potential concern from the taxi trade over the impact of the relocation and we will have a new way-finding campaign within the station to help passengers find their way to the new rank.”