Oxford’s taxi drivers shared how the new ‘nightmare’ transport rules and rising fuel costs, paired with the cost-of-living crisis, are making it harder to provide for their families.

Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), the proposed zero-emission zone, and rising fuel costs have compounded into a headache for Oxford’s Hackney Carriages.

Black cabbies are particularly worried about the need to shift to an electric car by 2025, which could cost between £50,000 and £60,000.

READ MORE: Oxford reacts to e-scooter legalisation talks in Queen's Speech

Oxford Mail: Mohammed Tahir, 50, "Since the cost of living has gone up life has become very hard."Mohammed Tahir, 50, "Since the cost of living has gone up life has become very hard."

Mohammed Tahir, 50, who has four children said: “Since the cost of living has gone up life has become very hard.

"The rising fuel costs yes, but also the rising cost of everything. And we are expected to buy an electric car.

“It’s just very hard”

Oxford City Council have a £5,000 grant for 17 Hackney Carriage drivers to switch to an electric vehicle, funded by the Energy Superhub Oxford Project.

But, even the Government Plug-in Grant which means that taxi drivers can save around £12,200 this is only around 22 per cent of the cost of a new TX electric taxi, costing £55,600, or an all-electric Nissan Dynamo costing £55,495.

Oxford Mail: Taxi drivers wait for passengers at Oxford railway station.Taxi drivers wait for passengers at Oxford railway station.

Another issue that was raised by a group of taxi drivers was that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are making their routes longer and adding to their profit loss.

Taxi driver Jehangri Ahmed, 39, said: “They’re just shifting the pollution problem to another part of town, as traffic will build upon the main roads, and make it more difficult for us to get where we need to go.”

The main concerns were the East Oxford LTNs.

Oxford Mail: Ayaz Mirz, 61, “Everything is going up in cost."Ayaz Mirz, 61, “Everything is going up in cost."

Ayaz Mirz, 61, who has been in the business for over two decades said: “At the moment we can’t increase our fares because the cost of living has increased, and we’d lose our customers. But the cost of fuel has also increased so we are making less profit.

“Everything is going up in cost. It’s tricky as we’re self-employed so we can’t apply for anything."

City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (Colta) discussed this last year when fuel shortages saw a hike in prices.

A spokesperson said: "The trade is always facing challenges, whether it's to do with access to certain routes in the city centre, or fuel shortages or the price of the fuel.

"We have to be on the road, we have to earn a living and our vehicles need fuel. So it's a difficult time at the moment but we have to just do our best."

The council has been contacted for a comment. 

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This story was written by Shosha Adie

She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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