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Council to relax taxi age rules to urge uptake of electric cabs

Published on Thursday, September 7, 2017

A POLICY that restricts the maximum age at which Leicester hackney carriages can be licensed is set to be relaxed to encourage take-up of electric taxis.

Leicester City Council plans to introduce a temporary moratorium on the age policy until mid-2018, when ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) are expected to be available to hackney carriage operators.

The council’s current policy on vehicle age is that no hackney carriage will be licensed once it is over 11-years old.

A temporary relaxation of the age policy will mean that around 30 hackney carriages due to reach this limit within the next eight months could be relicensed until 30 June 2018, when the moratorium is proposed to end.

This will help bridge the gap until ULEV hackney carriages are available, and make it easier for operators to make the change to electric vehicles. This is a measure that a number of local operators and members of the local RMT union have requested.

All affected vehicles will continue to be subject to regular six-monthly safety tests during any extension.

There are currently 328 hackney carriages licensed to operate in Leicester.

Helping the taxi transport sector to reduce their environmental impact is one of the key aims in Leicester’s Air Quality Action Plan.

Cllr Adam Clarke, assistant city mayor for energy and sustainability, said: “Ultra-low emission hackney cabs are one of the key kays that we can help our local taxi operators clean up their fleets and support our ambition for healthy air in Leicester.

“The problem we face is that manufacturers won’t have ULEV hackney carriages available for purchase and delivery until next year.

“By relaxing the age limit in this way, we are giving taxi operators a little bit of breathing space until the new ULEV hackney cabs are available. Otherwise, we’re giving them no alternative other than to replace with a new petrol or diesel vehicle.

“Ultimately, we’d like all hackney carriages in the city to be ULEVs in the next ten years.”

The relaxation of the hackney carriage age policy will not apply to private hire vehicles, where hybrid and ULEV alternatives are already available.