Extra parking spaces will soon become available at Chichester Railway Station but taxi drivers will now have to share one rank, it has been confirmed this week.
Southern Railway confirmed the decision by Network Rail to resurface both of the station car parks 'as part of a programme covering over 30 Southern stations'.
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.
"Network Rail's business tenants will also benefit from new dedicated bays."
'Number of permits to be reduced with immediate effect'
The statement comes after current and previous taxi permit holders were contacted by email 'with advance notice of these changes', citing the 'permanent removal of the rank on the Southside car park'.
The email added: "The car park areas will be resurfaced from February 11 and the rank on that side of the station will be replaced by much-needed parking spaces.
"The Chichester Station taxi rank will therefore only be operated from the northern car park/station front. As a result of this change and following a review of the operation at the station, we will be reducing the number of permits available for sale with immediate effect."
The taxi ranks at the station are situated on land owned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which employs company Saba UK, previously known as Indigo, to operate all the ranks outside its stations.
In a statement to the Observer, the Southern spokesman said: "Only permit holders will have access to the rank, and some permits are still available on a first-come first served basis. Access will be managed by an Automatic Number Plate Recognition System, which will cover only the taxi rank, not the car parks."
'Permit holders will be supported'
According to the email sent out by Saba UK, on behalf of GTR, the automatic number plate recognition system will 'assist in the rank management' and to 'support those who have purchased permits and who are operating within the process'.
"Failure to purchase and display a valid permit will result in postal penalty notices being issued (£100 per penalty/per day)," the email warned.
When asked to comment on its involvement in the changes, Chichester District Council said its responsibility, as a licensing authority, is to 'ensure that hackney carriages are safe for the public to use'.
A spokesman added: "This includes ensuring that drivers are displaying the right signs, drivers are fit and proper to operate and ensuring drivers are updated regarding changes in regulations and safety information.
"Because we do not own the land, the way the ranks are being reorganised does not fall under our control. Each driver would have to apply to Indigo for a permit which allows them to wait on the rank.”