CABBIES have hit out after chaos reigned at Chichester railway station when the taxi rank was dug up without warning.
The drivers were unaware when they were losing their rank until workmen started putting barriers up about 10am on Tuesday (November 25) on the northern side of Chichester’s station.
Drivers slammed a lack of communication, especially as they were then told to use the disabled bays – despite cars already being parked in them.
“In a nutshell, it’s been confusion and disorder,” said hackney carriage driver Jim Rendall.
“It’s just making our life harder than it already is, with roadworks on the bottom of South Street and the streetlight changes they’re doing all over the city.”
At first, workmen placed barriers along the pavement that blocked people from getting into taxis at all.
The work is all part of a programme by West Sussex County Council to make cycling and walking easier around Chichester railway station.
“Improvements are being made to make the station forecourt clearer and safer for pedestrians, cyclists, taxis and motorists,” said a council spokesman when the work began on November 3.
Drivers were aware the work was due to happen, but were not told when to expect it to start on the forecourt.
“There was no communication,” said Gavin Don. “We knew they were coming, but they didn’t tell the station they were coming today so the station hadn’t put barriers out.”
He went on: “They’ve turned up this morning and blocked the taxi rank off. We said ‘you can’t do that because where’s the temporary rank?’”
Since then, signs have been put out stating a temporary taxi rank is in place across the disabled bays, however this leaves no other disabled bays at the station.
In response to the error, a spokesman from the council said: “We appreciate taxi drivers have experienced difficulties today regarding the work starting at Chichester station forecourt.
“We apologise for any mix-up with taxi drivers not being aware work was due to start today.”
Chichester District Council, which provides licences to drivers, contacted the county council after it was inundated with calls from irate cabbies.
An officer went down to the scene and told county the forecourt was ‘a little bit chaotic, as taxis were in the process of being barricaded in’.
The work is set to be completed in January and includes a cyclepath from the station into the city centre.