February 25, 2019
Leicester City Council plans to spend £490,000 on charging points for ‘greener’ black cabs. However, questions are being raised as currently, no electric black cabs are operating in the city.
The staggering spend hopes to provide 28 charging points to encourage cab drivers and taxi firms to purchase greener vehicles to improve air quality in the city. Government funding will provide £390,000 towards the spend with the remainder £100,000 being brought in from the council.
While the city council doesn’t hold information on electric private hire vehicles, a spokesman for the council said it’s believed that only a few operate in the area.
Black cab drivers of Leicester have raised their concerns over the cost to purchase a ULEV taxi and insist more needs to be done before they would consider such an expense.
Expensive Change for Black Cabs
Harry Singh, city centre cab driver, said: “The only way I would consider buying a green taxi is if the council was to scrap the 11-year time limit.
“An electric taxi should be good for life. If I spend more than £50,000 on a new cab, I want to know it’s going to last me longer than 11 years.”
There are also concerns over the location of the charge points in the area. Mr. Singh added: “Then there’s the charging, we wouldn’t want to stop working for a few hours to charge up.
“Do we leave the vehicles there? Do we stay with it? What if there’re no charging points available?”
John Rainer, another city cab driver, added: “A better way of doing it would be for the council to buy a fleet of green vehicles and lease them to drivers. They can buy it, charge and store it and we can pay them to use it.”
Taxi drivers who wish to purchase an electric cab will be offered a temporary relaxed age policy until March 31st, 2019.
Grant Scheme to Go Green
A bid for over £1.4 million from the European Regional Development Fund has also been placed by the city council. The money will go towards a new grant scheme to help local taxi firms go ‘green’ with new electric taxis.
Deputy city mayor for environment and public health, Councillor Adam Clarke, said: “Supporting a shift towards cleaner, greener transport is a vital part of the city’s air quality action plan.
“We’ve already seen the positive impact that the clean air technology now being used by the city’s bus fleet is making.
“Now we want to see those benefits extended to the city’s hackney cabs. Ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place will be vital in helping local taxi operators make their fleets more environmentally friendly.
“This new funding will help us accelerate the installation of new dedicated charging points for ultra-low emission taxis and is another important step towards achieving the city’s clean air ambitions.”
The new grant scheme is set to launch early March with grants of up to £10,000 offered to taxi drivers.