APP-based taxi companies like Uber should be urged to operate in Oxfordshire and would help fight rural isolation for some residents, a councillor will argue. 

Eddie Reeves, the county council’s cabinet member for transformation, wants firms using apps to be encouraged to work in Oxfordshire. 

In a motion to be delivered next week, he will argue the ‘greatest possible choice of transport available’ would help people get around the county more easily.

But Mr Reeves will claim the city council ‘refused’ to grant app-based companies licences at a meeting next week. 

The taxi firm’s bid to operate in Oxford was declared void in July 2016 because it did not submit key details within 12 months after submitting an initial application. 

Tom Hayes, the city council’s board member for safer, greener, environment, said: “The city council has granted licences to more than 30 private hire operators in the last 12 months – the councillor hasn’t even done the most basic research before writing his motion.”

Mr Hayes claimed the county council had helped make ‘people prisoners in their own homes’ as more than 100 countywide  bus routes have been scrapped over recent years.

Uber was asked whether it plans to apply for another licence in Oxford but did not respond to an email. 

In an effort to stave off possible competition from Uber, city-based 001 Taxis and Royal Cars launched their own app in 2016.

Uber’s licence renewal was turned down by Transport for London in September 2017. But the firm won a 15-month licence to operate in the capital in June. 

Mr Reeves will ask the leader of the county council, Ian Hudspeth, to write to the leaders of all city and district councils in Oxfordshire to support a ‘greater choice of private-hire services by extending licences for new entrants to that market’. 

He also will urge the council to help other work to extend bus services ‘that has already enabled successful, innovative services in the county’. 

In February, the West Oxfordshire Community Transport Ltd launched a bus route to five villages in the district. 

The route now runs services between Witney and Chipping Norton via Crawley, Leafield, Ascott-under-Wychwood, Shipton-under-Wychwood and Milton-under-Wychwood. Other bus services have been supported by Oxford-based charity Aspire. 

And the Oxford Bus Company launched its PickMeUp service in the summer. 

At a meeting next Tuesday, Mr Reeves will also ask councillors to back bus companies to add to such ‘hop-on, hop-off’ services.