The owner of a Nelson taxi firm has admitted he is considering cutting his losses and “packing it in” due to the poor state of the roads which have cost him thousands in repairs.
Ali Ahmed (42) set up NBC Travel three years ago, but when one of his vehicles was damaged after water got into the oil filter due to a flood on Reedyford Road earlier this year, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
A frequent user of the road on his routes, Mr Ahmed pointed out that the flooding had submerged a speed bump - typically about 3.5 inches high - and said the roads were costing his business dearly.
“It’s a nightmare,” said Mr Ahmed from Nelson. “It showers for a few hours and it’s like a swimming pool. It’s a public safety issue: we’ve got customers and if something happens to them, their family is going to blame the taxi driver. The first thing for us is to get people home safely - it’s our duty.”
A council spokesperson confirmed they had launched an investigation into the flood and believe the issue relates to a culvert on private land.
“Our drains feed into a culverted watercourse nearby which we believe may be damaged, restricting the flow and causing the water to back up,” they said. “We’ve placed flood warning signs to warn people and are due to carry out further investigations.”
A frustrated Mr Ahmed said that NBC Travel has six cars and that they are taken off the roads if they are not up to spec - a standard that is becoming increasing hard to meet on local roads.
“If our cars are not up to scratch, we get penalised, but the roads are getting worse and there are more cuts to come,” he said. “The drive shafts are playing up every two months whereas before they’d be once or twice a year. I don’t know what to do.
“We’re just trying to make a living, but those cars are in and our of the garages every two weeks," Mr Ahmed added. "You have to pay for the insurance even if it’s off the road. I’m thinking at the end of the financial year of cutting my fleet down because I can’t afford to run it.
"It’s taking it’s toll, I’d rather cut my losses just pack it in.”