Currently, taxis (black cabs) can access Oxford Street at any time. Private hire vehicles can use Oxford Street only from 19:00 – 07:00 Monday to Saturday.
The taxi is also a significant method of transport to and within Oxford Street and the surrounding area, making up almost a third of the traffic on Oxford Street.
Taxis are a particularly important for those with restricted mobility, shoppers and tourists, and the taxi trade is an iconic feature of London and the West End. That said, despite making up almost a third of the traffic, taxis account for only two per cent of trips on Oxford Street.
Growth in taxi numbers
As London has grown over time so have the number of taxis and private hire vehicles operating in the capital. For example, in 2009/10 there were 59,191 private hire drivers licensed to operate in London. There are now over 117,000 private hire drivers operating in the capital.
Possible changes for taxis
Removing access for taxis would increase the extent to which we could transform Oxford Street, although this could also have implications for the accessibility of Oxford Street and for traffic flow in the surrounding area.
If we made no changes to the current arrangements direct access to Oxford Street for black cabs would be maintained. It would, however, greatly limit our ability to transform the area.
If we restricted access for taxis and private hire vehicles during the day, and allowed night-time access either to the full length of Oxford Street, or only to particular sections of it, we could provide pedestrians with much more space. This would, however, reduce the accessibility of Oxford Street by taxi during the day.
If we restricted access for taxis and private hire vehicles at all times, we could provide pedestrians with much more space. Again, this would have implications for the accessibility of Oxford Street by taxi and potentially for traffic flow in the surrounding area.
Creating new ranks and crossing points
In each case, we would look to identify new taxi ranks in the surrounding area in discussion with the taxi trade, and this could enable passengers to access Oxford Street by taxi, with a short walk.
Should we propose to restrict access to Oxford Street for all taxis we would consider whether it was possible to establish designated crossing points. These would enable taxis to head north to south (or vice versa), preventing long diversions to bypass Oxford Street.
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