BLACK cab drivers have warned revellers to steer clear of ‘out-of-town’ taxis over the Christmas period after an incident which left a driver in hospital.
A cabbie was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital on Sunday morning after a collision involving three vehicles at the taxi rank at Oxford Railway station.
None of the vehicles were Hackney carriage licensed by Oxford City Council and therefore should not have been waiting at the rank in the first place.
Eyewitness and licensed Oxford hackney carriage driver Darran Beal said: “One of our licensed drivers walked over to to speak to the drivers as they shouldn’t be there.
“Suddenly there was a large bang, Darrran was hit and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
He added: “It’s getting out of hand, when I go to work on Fridays and Saturdays there are more out of town taxis compared to Oxford City Council licensed cabs.
“They are always outside the bars and clubs waiting to pick people up.”
Great Western Railway - which runs the station - confirmed the crash took place at its customer drop-off point and British Transport Police said it was investigating the circumstances of the collision just before 8.30am.
Under Oxford City Council licensing rules, only Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed by Oxford City Council can pick up from the city’s ranks and carry passengers without a booking.
Sajad Khan, secretary of the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association - which represents drivers of 107 black cabs in the city - said cars were coming from as far as Birmingham.
He said: “Thousands of revellers are set to be out and about in Oxford during Christmas and especially New Year’s Eve.
“Passengers must be aware of the illegal touting that’s going on and reminded that the Private Hire vehicle or taxis licensed outside of Oxford are not allowed to pick up passengers if hailed.
“If they do they will be doing it illegally which makes their insurance invalid.”
Those licensed by Oxford City Council provides passengers with insurance cover against accidents, but vehicles licensed outside the city only cover customers with bookings.
- Private Hire vehicles and Hackney Carriages not licensed by Oxford City Council cannot access the city’s 13 taxi ranks.
Taxi marshals are hired by Oxford City Council to reduce ‘illegal pick ups’ and ‘touting for business’ by taxis not licensed to take passengers.
Every driver pulling up at a rank must show their badge to identify they are licensed by Oxford City Council.
Uber have been refused a licence to work in this area, on the grounds that Oxford have a cap on the number of Taxis and private hire licenses issued by the City Council. This hasn't stopped Uber drivers many registered with TfL in London, from driving out to Oxford at he weekends, where there is a large student population.
Tony Dwyer a licensed Oxford driver said:
"At the weekend, it's a free for all, just like the Wild West. You can spot these Ubers from London by their TfL green roundels, many of these drivers are very aggressive".