OXFORD City Council is training technicians to give authorised services to electric taxis in the hopes of encouraging local cab firms to start buying zero-emissions vehicles.

Oxford Direct Services, the commercial arm of the council, has signed a three-year agreement that has seen it approved as an authorised service dealer for the TX, 'the world’s first purpose built electric black cab'.

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The team will soon be able to service the cars, carry out warranty work, supply parts, respond to any breakdowns and undertake body repairs where needed.

They will become part of a network of such 'authorised service dealers' stretching from west London to Birmingham.

It is hoped the agreement may speed up the introduction of zero-emission black cabs into Oxford’s fleet.

Under the council's Zero Emission Zone scheme, Hackney carriage drivers can only get a licence in 2025 if they have a zero-emission cab – but none have as yet made the switch.

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The council is investing £500,000 to install 19 rapid electric vehicle charging points to support taxi drivers who switch to low emission cars.

The first chargers will be installed this Spring and the project will run until Spring 2020.

Tom Hayes, executive board member for a safer and greener environment, said: “Our black cab drivers are an absolute credit to the city of Oxford. Not only do Hackney carriage drivers move people around the city safely, they want to make the Zero Emission Zone a success. Together we’re determined to have a green and clean black cab fleet with the iconic London look.”