A move by the ruling Labour administration at the City Council to reduce pollution from black cabs and private hire taxis by setting an age limit on licensed vehicles may backfire, say the Greens.
The City voted on 5 October to prevent any cab over 12 years old and any PHV older than 10 years from being licensed. A Green amendment which sort to exclude vehicles which met an additional low emissions test (for example, electric vehicles or those which had been re-engined) was voted down by Labour.
Says Green Group leader Craig Simmons who proposed the amendment,
The strict age limit will have unintended consequences. It will prevent drivers from investing in electric vehicles, which have a longer payback, and discourage the fitting of new engines. Under the new proposals, for example, even the Mayor's hybrid electric Toyota Prius would be ineligible to be a private hire vehicle from next year.
At the same time, the City Council have been criticised in the national Cycle Touring Club (CTC) magazine for their negative attitude towards cycle taxis—which have received strong support from the Greens,
... in Oxford, Tom Maxwell's Oxon Carts was denied a licence. (At times, Tom feels the council has 'gone out of its way to make things difficult for us'.) So they're restricted to pre-booked work, such as wedding-couple transport (£57-£90 per hour); they did 70 last year. The weekend work provides handy employment for students and others, but with the pedicabs idle the rest of the week, Tom wishes he could do the station-to-town run, which the taxis aren't keen on, plus personalised town tours down the unmotorable back lanes.