Brighton Station taxi rank to move

Posted On 01 Oct 2019 at 11:38 am

Taxis queue at Brighton Station. Picture by N Chadwick

After years of campaigning by residents, the Brighton Station taxi rank is finally to move to the back of the station.

People living in Surrey Street, where taxis sometimes queue to get into the rank, have been asking for it to be moved from the front of the station for some years now.

In 2015, the city council announced it would be trialling a move to Terminus Road – but this was scrapped within days following protests from the taxi trade.

But today, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which owns the station, announced it was moving to the back from November 11 – and again, taxi drivers are furious.

Is moving the Brighton Station taxi rank a good idea?

GTR’s Lead Facilities Manager Karl McCormack said: “With over 16.5 million passengers using Brighton station every year and increasing visitor numbers to Brighton, the current taxi rank has outgrown the southern entrance – with queuing 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 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 wayfinding campaign within the station to help passengers find their way to the new rank.”

However, George Beresford of the Independent Taxi Drivers’ union said the new location would add to the already existing gridlock in surrounding streets.

He said: “It’s a disaster for the trade, for the public and for the town.

“It’s an already congested area, New England Street is just gridlock at the weekends and unmanageable from Mondays to Fridays.

“The rank will add 300 cars per hour at peak time to an already overpolluted area and all they have done to accommodate that is put a new set of lights in.

“We’ve spoken to GTR and they say we need to do this because we need to redevelop the front of the station. The council says it’s not their issue, it’s GTR.

“I need to go and speak to the drivers and find out what they want to do, but it’s not something I think we should take lying down.”

Andrew Peters from GMB Brighton and Hove Taxi Section was more circumspect, but said the move will result in higher fares for people wanting to go south.

He said: “For many years the situation of the taxi trade trying to provide a good service for train users has been frustrated by several changes to the station forecourt and road layout with what we understand to be around 300 permits being issued to date for only seventeen spaces with each driver paying the high fee of nearly £1000 per year.

“The trade was made aware of the intended move but to so far has not been any consultation with the trade on the actual layout of the new rank as we could have made recommendations on this including such as matters as disability access. Additionally we are not aware of consultation with any disability groups.

“Furthermore with so many permits issued we have major concerns that providing only twenty-nine spaces will not be sufficient. We understand there is a ‘feeding area ’ but the complete full details have not been supplied.

W”e also have concerns about what will happen when rail replacement busses will also be using the same space.

“Time will tell as to whether moving the rank to the back will work but the clear facts are that both driving to the back of the station and also exiting is difficult at the best of times and any passenger wanting to go southbound will incur higher fares.”

GTR says by reducing queuing through a larger rank, it will improve traffic flow, particularly in the Surrey Street area.

The new taxi rank in Stroudley Street is 50% bigger than the current rank with space for 29 vehicles. There will continue to be space for private cars to drop off passengers, and rail replacement buses will still use the back of the station.

It will enable quicker access to the A270 and A23 for journeys to the north and out of the city as well as maintaining an easy route to the seafront.

For the roads south of the station, the relocation will reduce congestion and remove the bottleneck on the bus interchange.

The new-look northern entrance off Stroudley Road represents a significant investment into the station and the experience of GTR passengers with the continued development of a courtyard area with a café and cycle hub.

At the southern entrance of the station, we will transform the current taxi rank into a welcoming covered pedestrian plaza, which will be used as part of our future queuing plans on major event days – like Brighton Pride.

This will also enable the taxi rank to continue to operate during major events, instead of the current system of temporary closure.

  1. Rolivan Reply

    So people getting off a train will want to get onto the A23 or A270 in a taxi when it would be far easier to use a different train station north of Brighton Station.Do these people who make decisions just come down on a train and not travel around the City and Beyond.
    Travellers with luggage who now want to get to Seafront Hotels will now go on a sightseeing tour of the City before reaching their destination at more expense and the taxi drivers will take the brunt of their displeasure no doubt.

  2. Rolivan Reply

    By The way these ‘residents’of surrey street wouldnt be friends of the earth and the green party by any chance?

    • Rob Reply

      no, there are about 30+ residential houses on that road, get over your unhealthy obsession

  3. Brighton Yorkie Reply

    There has been little thought put into this. The whole area around the front of the station has evolved over many decades with property prices at a premium because commuters can get a relatively cheap taxi ride to places like the Brunswick area. This is going to have a negative affect on all those people. And how many trips do they think go out of the station and up the A23? The answer is very few. The vast majority of trips from the station head south for the hotels or west with relatively few going north.

    • Gemini 2 Reply

      More trade for the No 6 bus then

    • Rob Reply

      who gives a toss about peoples already over-inflated property prices?

    • Eddie Jackson Reply

      It’s the planning that can and should have sorted the jams out. So many missed opportunities over the past forty or fifty years. Better roads…one way systems.. free flow….. so many missed opportunities. You cannot go N S E W in Brighton because the seafront.
      Brighton needs a proper Pk&Ride system that would exclude many commuters cars from the city centre.
      I could go on, but won’t… not my place to do so.

  4. Rob Lawrie Reply

    Totally ridiculous plan. Anyone visiting Brighton in the summer heads directly south and expects to be able to take a taxi to the hotels almost exclusively to the south of the station. Moving to the rear would also expose travellers to all sorts of unpleasant weather conditions as the area is not covered. I can see a queue of 70 or 80 people waiting for a taxi in the pouring rain….not. At present the rear of the station is used almost exclusively by Uber drivers to pick up passengers, will they pay £900 per year for the privilege. Most of these are not licensed in Brighton so local authorities have no control over them.
    I can’t see any Brighton taxi driver paying anything for what Uber currently uses free of charge.
    A few years ago McDonalds wanted to put a unit at the front where the current taxi rank is, has this reared it’s head again? Profit before public services?
    Totally ridiculous plan . People not profit!

    • Rob Reply

      the weather comment is valid

      to be fair the long straight stretch could be perfect for a taxi queue line, and is indoors

      uber drivers simply won’t be able to park there anymore, so it affects them the most i’d imagine (other than residents living behind the station)

  5. Tom Reply

    Taxi drivers are furious? Maybe they shouldn’t gridlock Surrey Street and Queens Road queuing to get in the existing taxi rank when it is clearly full and think parking in bus stops or even the middle of the road is acceptable. If they don’t like it they’re entirely to blame.

  6. Gavin Bennett Reply

    I think this is a daft idea. There are already huge queues at the New England and Preston Circus junctions due to badly phased traffic and pedestrian lights, meaning that traffic coming from Seven Dials is stationary for two or three phases of the lights or at best, only one vehicle getting through. The taxi drivers have bought this on themselves though. They clog up Surrey Street, Junction Road AND the bus station with their selfish queuing to get into the station. I have seen the police move them on but this doesn’t happen often enough.

    • Rob Reply

      agree with most of this – although council shouldn’t have sold them so many expensive permits

      the traffic is indeed awful on old shoreham road and new england – it will become even worse

  7. Rob Reply

    having lived in Surrey street, i understand the need to move it, but i now live the other side of the station and fear absolute chaos – the back entrance is smaller and tighter and as mentioned, new england street is already a nightmare

    it is a difficult situation to solve, the station is in a small, busy and central space with few options

  8. danny sharp Reply

    Actually it’s govia who own Brighton station that issue the permits to pick up at the station.

  9. Charles Forster-Hall Reply

    I live in Stroudley Road. I pity anyone leaving the station at around 5-7pm every day. Its total gridlock. Throw a full taxi rank into the mix and it will just grind to a halt. This hasnt been thought out at all. As some one else said. If the reason for the move is so people can get faster access to the A23, why would you get the train to brighton to just head north again. Most hotels are on the front. They must be trying to funnel all seafront traffic though seven dials. New england road wont cope.

  10. Gary King Reply

    I’ve sat on the number 6 bus waiting to get onto the forecourt bus stop on many occasions. Surrey Street has been clogged up with taxis who drop off and collect fares in the middle of the road and the bus stand on the station forecourt is often used by taxis for the same purpose. I wish there was a taxi friendly solution, but sadly there isn’t and the selfish behaviour of the taxi drivers has now come back to bite them on the arses! It’s a shame it came to this, but they clearly weren’t willing to be considerate to bus users.

  11. Andrew Reply

    I use Brighton station very little unless I collect others from the back of the station. However cycle a lot and look at the Trafalgar arches as a sort of ‘dead space’.
    I have given this very little thought as I have only been thinking of this when reading other comments….
    How about having taxis queue along Trafalgar arches below the station, queue up Trafalgar street under the bridge (reverse traffic and only allow taxis up) collect fare at the top and either turn left to go south or east or right to go north or west.
    Buses at the front in current site, public drop off and collection (and Uber) to collect from current drop off at the back.
    Simples??

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