TAXI drivers in Oxford might have to carry card machines in the future, if the public and cabbies think it is a good idea.

A public consultation on making card payments a mandatory option for all Oxford’s Hackney carriage drivers is now open for opinions.

The consultation was launched on Wednesday, and has been put together after members of the public asked the city council ‘about the possibility of card payments for taxis’.

The city council’s website said: “This method of paying is standard in some parts of the country, such as London, and many people now tend to carry less cash and expect to pay for many items and services by card.”

While many cab drivers do currently carry card machines in Oxford, they are not required to.

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If a majority of people who respond to the online questionnaire think that making taxis carry card machines is a good idea, then the council might change its licensing policy to make this happen.

The city council’s cabinet member for a zero carbon Oxford, Tom Hayes, said: “With the cashless society becoming more and more a factor of everyday life, whether it’s paying in restaurants, shops, or even on buses, we realise that there is a growing demand to extend this form of payment to taxis and private hire vehicles.

“This consultation aims to inform us about how great that demand is and I call on users and taxi service providers to get involved in the consultation so we can arrive at a positive way forward for this initiative.”

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Taxi driver Ali Dar welcomed a move to make card machines mandatory for Hackney carriages.

He said: “As a taxi hackney carriage driver in Oxford I urge everyone to take part in this consultation as its a need for our passenger, especially in this day and age when no-one carries cash around.

“I am glad that council is doing something now but this should’ve been done few years ago. I also want to address licensing that they should follow London and the card machines should be on display in the passenger compartment.”

He added: “And also council should make it mandatory for kebab vans.”

Though the UK is moving towards becoming a cashless society, the consumer association Which? has said as many as 25 million people could struggle without access to cash.

Take part in the consultation at: