Chichester Railway Station changes a 'recipe for disaster' warns taxi driver

Jim Rendall.
Jim Rendall.

The decision to merge the two taxi ranks at Chichester Station is a 'recipe for disaster', according to one of the affected drivers.

As part of a programme covering more than 30 Southern stations, the taxi rank on the southside car park at the station is set to be permanently removed to create extra car parking spaces. Read more here.

However, Chichester resident Jim Rendall, a taxi driver of 11 years, said the north rank gets 'very congested for hours' so taxi drivers will be caught up in heavy traffic during busy periods.

He added: "The move doesn't help disabled people and families with kids or grandparents coming back from a long holiday away. If coming from London or Gatwick, they would have to walk the whole way round the station just to get a taxi usually with big bags.

"That is then not helped by how narrow the level crossing is. It barely fits two people on the path. With kids running around, and big suitcases it's a recipe for disaster."

Earlier this week, Southern Railway confirmed the decision by Network Rail to resurface both of the station car parks.

A spokesman said: "At Chichester there has been high demand from our passengers for more parking, pick-up and drop-off spaces, so we are taking the opportunity to reconfigure the smaller car park on the south side, and to create still more space by consolidating the two taxi ranks into one on the north side."

The statement came after current and previous taxi permit holders were contacted by email 'with advance notice of these changes'.

Jim fears he will now lose income as the removal of the south rank leaves only two places for taxis to park in the whole of the district.

"There is only one other taxi rank in the whole of Chichester district, and that's not fit for purpose," he said.

"The rank in West Street is only big enough for two taxis and no one even knows it is there.

"There used to be a rank outside Next in East Street. A lot of people used it but no one even knew before it disappeared. Got there one morning and the marking had been removed.

"Taxi drivers are just forgotten. No one cares. If this was my only job, I wouldn't be able to make a living. I've got a wife and three kids at home, including a 16 week old baby. I need to feed them."

The Southern spokesman, in its statement to the Observer, said, as a result of the changes made by Saba UK (previously named Indigo), the number of permits available for sale would reduce with 'immediate effect'.

Jim said: "It reduces the number of taxis that can park in the station. There is just not going to be enough cabs.

"If this wasn't my livelihood, it could be made into a sitcom.

"There is no support for us taxi drivers. We are told we have to drive to the nearest available rank but there just isn't enough."

Meanwhile, commenting on the Observer Facebook page, reader David Harwood said the changes were a 'mad' decision.

He wrote: "[It is] a big let down to Chichester people who use the station and other public services."

What to do think about the changes? Let us know on our Facebook page.

See also: Chichester Railway Station taxi rank to be scrapped to create more car parking spaces