When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Cab drivers face huge bills to replace ageing vehicles
CAB drivers face having to spend thousands of pounds replacing their cars under new rules to limit the age of licensed vehicles.
Oxford City Council is set to approve recommendations on Thursday to limit the age of Hackney carriages currently licensed to 12 years and 10 for private hire vehicles.
Any new driver applying for a licence must have a vehicle that is less than five years old.
There is currently no age limit, but vehicles must have an MOT twice a year.
The plans have been met with a mixed response, with many drivers concerned about the financial impact, while others say it would improve the quality of vehicles on the road.
Drivers estimate that a new vehicle could cost up to £50,000.
City councillor and taxi driver Saj Malik said: “If the Hackney carriages were only built to last 12 years then this would be acceptable, but we are asked to go through two MOTs a year and if it can pass that then I do not see what the problem is.
“You can get in cabs in London which are from the 60s or 70s and they are perfectly fine so I do not see what the problem is.”
The council received 170 responses to its consultation and said the majority supported the five year limit for new licences but others were concerned about the financial implication on drivers and companies.
It was originally planned that existing licensed vehicles would have to be less than eight years old, but after a six-week consultation the city council extended the limit because of the “financial impact” on drivers having to replace their cabs.
The City of Oxford Licensed Taxi Cab Association (Colta) in its response to the council said: “In relation to the age limits, Colta agrees a limit needs to be set in place around vehicle age and we would like to propose 10 to 15 years. This would reflect vehicle shelf life and durability in line with regular maintenance and MOTs.
“We firmly believe that the black cabs are designed to last a decent life span – a couple of decades – as long as they are looked after and serviced regularly.”
Manager of Royal Cars, based in Ferry Hinksey Road, Niaz Mohammed, said he was concerned about the original eight year limit but was “happier” with the 10-year age limit.
He said: “We should be able to live with that. The eight year plan would have caused us problems as it would have upset our drivers.”
Mark Green, who owns St Aldate’s-based 001 Taxis, said: “We are actually happy with these proposals and agree with the city council’s plans for the upper age limit.”
Chairman of the licensing committee Colin Cook said: “We want to greatly improve the quality of the taxi and private hire fleet in Oxford. It will improve the safety standards and it will help us address the green agenda.”
If approved the plans will be put in place from January 2016.
Comments are closed on this article.