Electric only taxis move by York Council

More electric taxis may be coming to York

A Council report suggests that most taxis and hire cars in York will become battery powered over the next couple of years. The major change would see new taxi plate applicants advised to secure a electric vehicle although hybrid options would be acceptable.

The report also suggests that the existing number of taxi plates (183) should be retained for the City and that there would be no change to taxi ranks. 24% of vehicles are regarded as wheelchair accessible. There is no restriction on the number of private hire vehicles in the City.

There are 151 people on the waiting list for taxi plates in the City.

The plan to move to low emission vehicles is seen as a way of reducing emissions around the City. The report acknowledges that such vehicle are more expensive to purchase.

A concession is suggested for large wheelchair accessible vehicles.

The average age of the taxi/private hire fleet is currently 7 years. The Council is now proposing that 7 years should be the maximum permitted age of a taxi or hire car.

The report says, “there are many cars in the fleet that do not meet the latest Euro standards and there is still a large number of vehicles operating in the city which are Euro 5, Euro 4 and even some Euro 3 vehicles – including hackneys. It is well documented that Euro 5 diesels are a problem in respect of their emissions of harmful particulate matter”.

The report goes on to say new hackney carriage vehicles licences will only be issued to the following type of vehicles:

  • · Fully electric wheelchair accessible vehicles
  • · Plug in electric petrol hybrid wheelchair accessible vehicles (These vehicles are purpose-built taxis and have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 112km (70miles) without any emissions)

From 1st January 2021 new private hire licences will only be issued to the following type of vehicles:

  • · Fully electric vehicle
  • · Plug in electric petrol hybrid vehicle
  • · Petrol hybrid vehicle – Euro 6 class or better (less than 7 years old)
  • · Wheelchair accessible vehicles – Euro 6 diesel/petrol or better (less than 7 years old)

The Council is offering financial support to eligible CYC licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers/vehicle licence proprietors to upgrade their vehicles to low emission variants.

There may be a concern that the proposals are ill timed.

Taxis – along with other types of public transport – have suffered reduced use because of the pandemic and lockdown.

Air quality levels are currently good in all parts of the City.

While passengers will welcome the move towards improved standards, some will argue that the current health situation suggests implementation of the new rules be delayed.  New compliant vehicles can cost around £50,000. That  is a big outlay against the background of a declining market.

Many will also argue that hire cars, registered outside York but operating in the City, should be subject to the same rules.

Bad news for small car owners in York

5.2 metre long hybrid behemoths could get discounted parking in York 

The York Council looks set to end the discounts available for the owners of small cars who park in central York. The decision will mainly affect Respark districts although some car park season ticket holders also stand to lose their concession.

In March 2004 the then LibDem controlled City of York Council took the pioneering step of offering Respark permit holders, who drove small low emission vehicles, a substantial discount on their parking permit costs. It was the first scheme of its type in the country.

At the time the discount was aimed at maximising the number of vehicles which could be parked in ResPark areas.  Then, as now, demand for on street spaces exceeds their ability particularly in terraced areas.

|The “short car” initiative meant that maximising the use of vehicles like the 2.7-metre-long Smart car could allow everyone a space. They also had the advantage of being economical, low emission vehicles although it was several years later that central government started to encourage low emission cars by establishing vehicle excise duty bandings which favoured small cars.

The Council used the new bandings to offer discounts for owners who bought season tickets for the Councils off street car parks. Drivers of excise duty bands A and B received a 50% discount.

Small cars will lose their discount entitlement 

Now the Council, is set to reverse its policy on encouraging small cars. Instead they intend to offer discounts on ResPark permits (and parking season tickets) only to the users of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV). These are cars which emit less than 75g/km or less of CO2 per mile.

815 existing permit holders would be affected by the change.

In effect this means the only vehicles to benefit from a discount will be “all electric” and “plug in hybrid” models.

This is a step in the wrong direction at least as far as ResPark permits are concerned.

Many of the ULEV vehicles available are not “small”. They include models like the Mecedes S Class 500E which is over 5 metres long. The smallest is a VW e-UP (3.5 metres) which is all electric and has a range of 90 miles (probably less in the real world).

E-up would get a discount but must recharge every 90 miles

……and that is the second problem. These vehicles must be recharged after each journey. There are no kerbside charging points in ResPark areas at the moment and not likely to be in the foreseeable future.  Owners would have to drive to and from a public rapid charging point of which there are a limited number in central car parks.

The councils new plan – which will be discussed at a meeting taking place next Thursday –  is ill considered.

It seems designed only to increase the Council’s income from car parking charges. It mimics central governments excise duty decision which focus on a vehicles value rather than environmental impact.

It is estimated that the change could bring in around £140,000 a year extra for the civic coffers.

Greener taxi licensing policy introduced in York

 Taxi-to-York-Castle-MuseumCity of York Council’s newly approved taxi licensing policy aims to cut pollution from York’s fleet.

The new policy which consolidates all previous taxi licensing decisions into one single formal document, restricts harmful emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles as part of an over-arching strategy to improve air quality in the city.

The council currently licenses183 hackney carriage and 580 private hire vehicles, this fleet of 763 vehicles has a significant impact on air quality in the city. So, York’s new policy focuses on requiring the purchase of replacement vehicles which meet certain emission standards. These will help cut levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulates in the city’s air that can damage health, as well as cutting down on carbon dioxide, a ‘greenhouse gas’ which has an environmental impact.

Zero emission taxi

Zero emission taxi

Vehicles applying to be licensed as taxis must meet European Standards known as minimum Euro 5 for petrol*,  Euro 6 for diesel*, or ultra low emission vehicles from 1 June 2017 for replacement hackney carriage vehicles, and from 1 November 2017 for replacement private hire vehicles.

Currently one in ten York taxis are a hybrid or electric taxi due to City of York Council establishing the UK’s first low emission taxi incentive scheme to encourage uptake and embed knowledge and confidence in these vehicles.

Following an eight-week consultation and representations from taxi and private hire operators, an amendment was made to the policy to reflect that the choice and costs of buying wheelchair-accessible vehicles is relatively limited.