A consultation on the draft policy was given the go-ahead this week by councillors at Licensing Committee. It will run until 22 August.
The council is responsible for licensing hackney carriage and private hire vehicles and their associated proprietors and operators throughout the city.
The aim of the proposed policy is to give a clear statement on how the council will work with operators to protect the public and the environment and deliver a professional, respected and easy to access taxi service for all.
One of the most important elements of the proposed new policy is the objective to license only low emissions taxi vehicles by 2026.
Air quality is poor in a number of locations in the city where there is a concentration of emissions from buses, taxis and service vehicles.
The council’s Air Quality Action Plan last year identified reducing emissions from taxis and buses as one key policy to help improve air quality here.
Incentives to encourage the take-up of low emission taxis, in order to help meet the proposed 2026 targets that are under consideration in the proposed new policy, include:
- A discount or exemption on fees for drivers of ‘Low Emission Taxis’ (petrol electric hybrids) or ‘Ultra-Low Emission Taxis’ (fully electric);
- Extending the maximum age limit allowed for taxis if they are fully electric or petrol/electric hybrids;
- Creating an electric taxi-only rank;
- Providing a number of taxi-only charging points.
Other initiatives under consideration in the proposed policy include:
- Making training in safeguarding and disability awareness mandatory for all taxi licence holders;
- A review of the current medical examination requirements for licensed drivers;
- Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes or similar devices in taxis.
The current policy, which has been updated from time to time, has been in place since October 2011 and is now due for review.
Cllr Gerri Bird, Chair of Licensing Committee, said: “For a number of residents of the city, as well as people doing business here or visiting, the taxi trade provides an important service.
“It’s the council’s job to provide a taxi service that’s safe, accessible to all and meets demand.
“Low emission taxis are less polluting and have lower operating costs, so it is right that we look at encouraging their take-up by the taxi trade.
“Our draft policy sets out the high standards we expect and I would encourage everyone to take this opportunity to have their say on the future operation of this important city transport service.”
Residents, visitors, taxi operators and others can take part in the consultation which will be published at: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/consultations/tell-us-what-you-think-of-our-revised-taxi-licensing-policy .
Consultation letters to taxi operators and other stakeholders will also be sent out and a trade forum held.
All comments will be taken into account in preparing the final policy and the results of the consultation will be discussed by councillors at the next Licensing Committee on 17 October.