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Council consults on maximum age of taxis

Published on Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A STRICTER age limit for taxi cabs in Leicester could be on the cards as part of a consultation being carried out by Leicester City Council.

A public consultation is being launched to give people a say on a number of issues to do with taxis, including their maximum age, the number of taxi licences available and the introduction of ultra-low emission vehicles in the city.

Back in 2013, Leicester City Council agreed to raise the maximum age of both Hackney cabs and private hire vehicles from eight years to 11 years.

The city council is now considering reverting back to the previous eight year limit, because a far higher proportion of older vehicles fail their safety checks at the council’s vehicle testing centre.

In addition, Leicester City Council is considering removing the artificial limit on the number of Hackney carriages it licenses, inline with the Department for Transport’s guidelines which say councils shouldn’t limit the numbers.

Finally, people will have a say on proposals to ensure all new hackney carriages are ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), which have lower running costs and will help improve the city’s air quality.

The consultation runs from Monday, August 1, to August 31, 2016.

Figures from the city council’s licensing team show that beyond the age of eight years, nearly half of vehicles (43 per cent) failed their regular safety checks. The failure rate rises to about 56 percent after 10 years.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I’m determined to improve the city’s air quality by cutting vehicle emissions, and ensuring we have a modern, safe fleet of taxis operating in the city is part of that.

“There is strong evidence that an eight-year age limit may be more appropriate for all taxis, because beyond this the failure rate begins to rise significantly.

“I would like to see all new hackney carriages to be ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), and also for existing vehicles to be replaced eventually with ULEVs.

“Having large numbers of older taxis on our roads delays them being replaced with newer, lower-emission vehicles, which has a very significant impact on air quality in the city.”

Taxis account for an estimated 11 percent of traffic during morning rush-hour in the city centre, so are considered an important focus for measures to cut nitrogen oxides and other pollutants.

Leicester’s current 11-year age limit is similar to those in other major Midlands cities, including Coventry (10 years), Nottingham (12 years) and Birmingham (14 years).

London currently has a 15-year age limit, but is now introducing a decommissioning policy for taxis over 10 years old.

To take part in the consultation, visit: consultations.leicester.gov.uk

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