Give Private Hire Drivers equal access to the Oxford Westgate Link Rd as the buses

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I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read and sign this petition and for  sharing it with your contacts.

My name is Hamid Akbar I have been a Private Hire Driver in Oxford for over 10 years. 

This petition is about giving access back to the private hire drivers regarding the Oxford Westgate link road.  

Previously we have had access to the bus lanes, high street and George street and also the link road just like the buses do. Since the opening of the new shopping centre in Oxford city centre access to this Link Road is being denied by Oxford County Council (OCC) on the grounds that it would be too busy with traffic. 

Lately OCC has gone back on a decision to ban taxis from using Queen St with the exception for buses. Now they are allowing buses and Oxford Hackney. Forgetting the Private Hire Trade on the ground of increased traffic yet don't think about the emmisions these old vehicles are contributing to the city and contradicting there emmisions targets. 

We were told to update our vehicles and have invested thousands in to new vehicles. We were told the pollution levels were too high and they were not meeting the EU targets the Private Hire trade have again invested thousands on hybrids but they still favour the buses by subsiding them and giving them full access. 

Almost 90% of our fleet meet Euro Standard 6 requirments with a large number of the vehicles being Hybrid.

We bring more income to the city by ten times compared to the Hackney trade in terms of our vehicle license and driver license and have newer and more eco- friendly vehicles yet we the private hire drivers are forever squeezed and treated unfairly.

Impact of Proposal

The impact of the restriction is affecting the trade in the following ways:

1.       For the drivers it is taking 3 times as long to get to the train station, West of the city, North of the city or the centre. That pretty much covers most of the city. This goes same for the customer. Some even jump out in the Stand still traffic on Oxpens Rd and walk it the rest in frustration. We then refuse any jobs from that side of the city and make our way back to the East of the city.

2.       It is costing us more in fuel and is costing the customer three times as much in the cost of the fare.

3.       We are refusing people with mobility problems to be dropped as close as possible which would be the link rd and instead drop them on the High St and therefore making them walk the rest.

The ban has isolated Private Hires even though we also provide a good and well recognised public service to the Oxford community and to those visiting and passing through. 

We the Private Hire have taken the standards and level of professionalism to a very high level yet this ban feels we and the public especially the less able and visually impaired that use our services are being penalised. 

Therefore I am asking you to help me and support me so we can provide an equally good service to the public by having our access back so those that are less able or visually impaired can get back to normal and shouldn't have to suffer or pay for the decision taken on behalf of OCC since this ban has been imposed.

Thank you

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