ONE of the largest taxi firms in the area says it has lost thousands of pounds after all its phone lines failed on one of the busiest days of the week.

Zefren Khan, 47, director of 7-11 Cars in Stoke Road, Slough, says his drivers’ livelihoods are also being hit by the poor performance of the BT lines.

But he said it was the first time in his 27 years as owner that all of them had failed.

Last Friday all 30 of his ISDN lines went down between 9am and 3pm, resulting in the loss of hundreds of calls and thousands of pounds worth of takings. The company has around 250 cars in the area.

Mr Khan lambasted the response of BT as he and colleagues were forced to work with a single mobile phone number while the problem was rectified.

He said: “We have had 50 phone calls between us and BT today – that is not even a lie.

“Since 9am we had to divert to one mobile so imagine while we are taking those calls for six hours we have missed hundreds of jobs.

“I was at home and liaising with BT on my phone.

“It was Friday prayers for the Muslim drivers too so we had to manage with fewer resources, but it was made even more difficult by only having one mobile number.

“We are private-hire so we cannot just pick people off the street.”

Mr Khan said a BT Openreach engineer told him last Friday that he believed he had fixed the problem, but the issue would continue to be monitored for nine days.

Mr Khan, of Park Lane, Langley, said the issue was with the local phone exchange and in documents shown to The Observer, lines had been dropping out of service randomly since May 2016.

He said the issue had got worse since October last year and he had been frustrated by BT’s claim that it could not tell him how many calls the business had lost each time there was a fault.

He said: “We are an incoming call business but they said they only monitored outgoing calls. I said ‘you are a big company, surely you can tell me’.

“We pay them for critical cover and they should have fixed it within three hours.

“I think they should upgrade us to fibre optic as a goodwill gesture.”

A BT spokesman said: “We are sorry for the problems experienced by 7-11 taxis.

“Intermittent faults such as these can be particularly difficult to identify.

“We have carried out extensive testing, and repaired and replaced a variety of equipment. Following the most recent repair on Friday, our latest tests indicate that the customer’s service is working normally.

“The customer has critical care cover, which requires a response time of six hours and in each case the deadline was achieved.”