CABBIES picking up customers from a hotel have been hit with fines after getting caught by a camera set up to monitor the taxi rank at the nearby railway station.

Taxi drivers says they face "ridiculous" charges after being called to collect guests from the Jury's Inn hotel, which is just behind the station in Brighton.

They have been snapped by a camera which was recently activated to stop cabs without a licence from waiting in the taxi rank on Stroudley Road.

The Argus has been told that taxi drivers have started to reject jobs at the hotel for fear of getting caught by the automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) technology

Southern Rail, which manages the station, is looking to make changes amid complaints from Brighton and Hove Cab Trade Association (BHCTA).

It also said the cameras are in place to protect taxi drivers with a licence.

Andrew Peters, representative for BHCTA, said: “People are saying they have now got this parking ticket when dropping off at the Jury’s Inn when they’re just doing their job.

“This is a ridiculous situation where drivers are trying to do their job, especially after the pandemic, and now they are being penalised. It’s not as if they are obstructing the rank.

The Argus: The ANPR camera opposite the Jury's Inn which is supposed to stop unauthorised use of the taxi ranksThe ANPR camera opposite the Jury's Inn which is supposed to stop unauthorised use of the taxi ranks

“All cab drivers know that if you haven’t got a permit there, you can’t use the rank. I don’t have a permit myself, but if I was to drop off at the hotel, I’d then carry on and turn around at the roundabout where the taxi rank is and come back out again."

The association say that around ten of its members have received charges when entering the area in the last two weeks, despite claiming that they did not stop in the taxi rank.

Marc Venturi, a taxi driver for Brighton and Hove Radio Cabs, said he received a charge when picking up some guests at the hotel.

He says he never stopped in a taxi rank despite his penalty charge notice stating the reason for his charge was “use of taxi rank without a valid authorised licence".

Mr Venturi added that the time from arriving at the hotel to leaving with the passengers was three minutes.

The Argus: Southern Rail say the ANPR system is to protect taxi drivers with a licenseSouthern Rail say the ANPR system is to protect taxi drivers with a license

He said: “It was a call from the hotel for a pick up for some elderly ladies. It was dark and one of them required assistance so I had to pick up outside the front of the hotel.

“I immediately turned around but as on the penalty notice, at no point was I stopped on a rank.”

Southern Rail, which manages Brighton Station, said Stroudley Road is all station property and the cameras are in place to protect taxi drivers with a licence.

However, the company will be looking into moving the ANPR camera forward and having two bays for picking up and dropping off outside the hotel.

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director at Southern, said: “We understand people’s concerns and actually made these changes in response to taxi drivers telling us it’s unfair that some cabbies are using the rank without paying the licence fee.

“The camera is positioned at the entrance to Stroudley Road because the taxi rank runs its entire length on the opposite side of the road from the hotel and so anyone entering the area could be using the rank.

The Argus: The entrance to Stroudley Road from the mini roundabout.The entrance to Stroudley Road from the mini roundabout.


“All of Stroudley Road is railway property and there are very large and clear signs warning drivers they’re entering a controlled zone for which they need a licence.

“In light of the issues highlighted, we’ve already been in contact with the hotel to discuss a solution that would move the camera forward to create two dedicated bays outside the hotel.”

"Meanwhile, drivers without a licence can stop in the car park opposite for up to 20 minutes.

"If anyone has been issued with a Penalty Notice they feel is unjustified, they should follow APCOA's appeals process detailed on the notice so their individual circumstances can be looked into."

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