From the 24th October 2017, taxis are no longer permitted to use the ‘link route’ which is Norfolk Street in Oxford & runs alongside the new Westgate shopping centre. Currently only buses & cyclists are allowed access. Ample space is created there which can accommodate cabs without any concerns. Taxis had been using that route for decades prior to the Westgate development which enabled taxis to quickly shuttle passengers in & around Oxford City traveling from all directions avoiding congested routes. However, Oxfordshire County Council are now NOT allowing taxis access arguing that it will increase the levels of emissions in that area. There are a total of 107 black cabs licensed to operate in Oxford. Cabs will use the link route only when necessary (mainly to avoid traffic) & not all at once. But the County doesn’t seem to grasp that fact. This means that taxis are now regularly stuck on onerous congested routes along with other vehicles such as the Oxpens road trying to get to the Taxi ranks but taking us longer than necessary. This of course effects all passengers as they then wait longer for cabs on the taxi ranks & it delays everyone in trying to get to their destinations.
The difference is clear, during traffic, it takes us upto 45 minutes using Oxpens Road to get to the Train station from Saint Aldates. Going through the ‘link route’, this delay time is slashed to 10 minutes because taxis avoid all the traffic by using the link route once available. COLTA (City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association) have been pleading with the Oxfordshire County Council since July 2016 & highlighted this in the local paper (see link) arguing for access.
We are ‘Public hire vehicles’ and should be afforded the same rights as buses as is the case up and down the country. Also, all of our cabs are wheelchair accessible so denying us access through certain routes is denying access to those passengers who need our services such as the disabled & families with children. Taxis need to be accessible to everyone, anywhere in Oxford city.
We humbly request you to write in to the County Council officers of whom the emails and address are below & support our arguments. The decision by the County Council is not only having an effect on passengers waiting longer for cabs but it’s also having a serious impact on our livelihoods. We simply cannot operate as we used to as obstacles are placed in our paths making our lives difficult. Please write to the following officer who we have been in regular consultations with over the past year: email@example.com (Principal Infrastructure Planner) It will also be highly appreciated if you could copy in the following relevant people as we’ve been in constant communication with them. The last email is ours & if you could kindly copy us in also: firstname.lastname@example.org (Delegated Decisions by Cabinet Member for Environment including Transport) email@example.com (Leader of Oxfordshire County council) firstname.lastname@example.org (City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association) Post letters to: Martin Kraftl (E & E) Oxfordshire County Council County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND