TWO Japanese visitors were the first customers of Oxford's new 'taxi bus' service on November 4, 1986.

Kayoko and Tetsuya Matsumoto, who spoke little English, could not understand why Mail photographer Antony Moore wanted to take their pictures as they stepped into the cab.

The couple smiled sweetly for the camera, clearly believing they had stumbled upon some strange British custom.

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What in fact they had done was to become the first two people to travel on the taxi bus service launched by the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association.

Peter Kimber, a taxi driver for six years, was the first driver to work on the taxi bus.

His first drive round the route brought no customers, which was hardly surprising since an Oxford Mail reporter and photographer were on-board.