Storms give taxi firms and tree surgeons a boost

Bicester Advertiser: Rachel Thomas, of Royal Cars Rachel Thomas, of Royal Cars

THE recent floods, storms and gale force winds may have caused misery for many, but the weather has delivered a major boost for some Oxfordshire businesses.

Taxi firm Royal Cars has taken 30,000 bookings in the past week, up by almost a third from 23,000 a month ago.

The company, based in Osney Mead, Oxford, has an average fare at £6, which means the coffers have been boosted by an extra £180,000 in just seven days.

Supervisor Rachel Thomas said shoppers have been booking cabs to take them home after shopping trips, rather than stand in the rain and wind waiting for a bus.

She said: “Spending £4 on a taxi fare is not much more than the £3.50 they pay for the bus these days but there’s a door-to-door service and it’s safer.

“The rain and wind means people don’t want to stand at a freezing cold bus stop, they would rather be driven home in the warm.”

Strong winds have also caused damage around the county, pushing up demand for tree surgeons.

Dick Robinson, managing director of Robinson’s Trees in Wheatley, said he had seen a major upturn in trade during December, with the week before Christmas the busiest.

He has been called out to deal with fallen trees all over the county, including one in Kidlington that hit a greenhouse.

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A large branch fell from a sycamore tree and damaged the roof on a row of garages in Wantage and two poplars in Wallingford snapped, narrowly missing the road but breaking a fence.

Mr Robinson, who started his business in 1986, said: “Luckily, no one has been hurt in these instances but it has been a close-run thing.

“The strong winds are the problem because if a tree has a weak or rotting part, the wind will find it out.

“It can be extremely dangerous because if you get a tree that is thrown, the roots are sticking up in the air.

“They can weigh anything up to three or four tons when covered in soil.

“If you get someone who doesn’t know what they are doing tampering with it, that could end in disaster.”


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