Brighton’s taxi market is struggling after the influx of out-of-town drivers who are working within the city.
Raised during the councils licencing meeting, the issue has been described as drivers from local areas coming into the city centre who are not subject to the licencing rules faces by Brighton drivers, threatening the safeguarding and other protections enforced for the safety and security of its customers.
A representative from Brighton and Hove’s Cab Trade Association explained that a full investigation is needed into the matter by licencing officials to ensure that there could be a clear report of all working vehicles to see where licenced cars operated.
There exists a joint agreement between Brighton and Lewes regarding licencing, however with irregular visits by Lewes enforcement officials and many of the vehicles from this area violating conditions due to such issues as failing to display council issued licence plates, there is a lack of credible service provided.
Taxis from Chichester, Portsmouth, Southampton and even London are believed to now operate in the city, some without licence plates and with little knowledge of who these drivers worked for.
There were calls to limit those able to use bus lanes so that only Brighton taxi firms would be able to benefit from this, especially considering these are the only businesses paying licence fees to the council to operate.
In response, the council sympathised with the complaint, agreeing that out of town vehicles are a frustrating occurrence within the city.
However, legislation means that properly licenced vehicles are actually able to operate anywhere in the country, something that the Green Party actively opposed when the government consulted other parties.
Going forward, it is believed that Lewes council will be approached about more frequent monitoring visits.
Despite this, restricting bus lanes is not currently under consideration and the committee refused to issue a report order on the out-of-town drivers.
Conservative, Labour and Independent candidates asked instead that the council could keep an eye on the matter, providing figures so that those currently operating could be understood and allowing for more data in case any further consideration of the matter in future should occur.
Photo Credit: Rojan Manandhar