Oxford cabbies have received a much needed boost after Oxfordshire County Council announced that they would permit taxis and licenced private hire vehicles to use Norfolk Street and parts of Castle Street and Speedwell Street between 7am and 7pm from May 1 as part of a trial.
Frustrated cabbies have been arguing that they are having to endure increased traffic and travel times as they navigate their way through Oxpens Road and Thames Street, resulting in higher fares for unhappy passengers.
City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA) have been waging a three year campaign to obtain access to the area after planning permission was granted for the new Westgate.
Subsequently all vehicles were banned from the area apart from buses after the centre reopened in October 2017.
Upon realising that serious problems could ensue for cabbies in the area, COLTA started lobbying for access in March 2016.
Despite the lobbying from COLTA, council officers recommended the ban remained in place. This was however, rescinded when the cabinet member for transport, Yvonne Constance, called for the trail.
Sajad Khan, the secretary of COLTA said: "Our drivers are regularly stuck in Oxpens road, it has been a nightmare.
"If you pick someone up from the railway station and they needed to get to meetings, they would face serious delays." Mr Khan extended thanks to Ms Constance, as well as customers who wrote to the council expressing dissatisfaction at the situation and supporting the cabbies. The trial, which will last six months, wull be made permanent should it be deemed a success.
The trial will only give taxis the right to use the streets as a thoroughfare, they will not be allowed to stop or pick up passengers.
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Image Author: Ed Webster