THE council is looking to offer taxi drivers up to £1,200 to switch to make the switch to greener cabs.
Worcester City Council has revealed it is willing to offer a three-year discount for taxi drivers wanting to make the swap to electric or for drivers applying for a license for the first time in a green taxi.
Based on next year’s fees, the three-year discount for each hackney cab driver would be £1,226 and £1,129 for private hire taxis.
A report, which will be discussed by the council’s licensing and environmental health committee on December 12, already admits the council is not expecting drivers to be clambering to take up the discount, having seen a less-than-enthusiastic take-up by taxi firms when neighbouring councils have offered a similar incentive.
The number of cab drivers offered the discount would be capped at ten each year and would cost the council around £37,000 if all 30 offers are claimed in the next three years.
Half of the city’s licensed cabs are six years or older which means that a lot more than 10 would need replacing each year for the next three years and the council is worried the ‘first-come-first-served’ approach may be unfair.
Nevertheless, the council said, having seen similar offers offered in at neighbouring Malvern Hills and Wychavon councils in 2020, where just seven electric taxis have been licensed by the two councils in the last two years, it might not even get close to the cap on 30 licences.
The council, which declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is working on cutting its carbon footprint, said its plan could “send out a very strong message” with a “relatively minor financial impact.”
The council has handed out more than 300 licences including just over 250 hackney cabs – and whilst just five are hybrid vehicles, none are electric.
The average cost of an electric taxi would be around £45,000 according to the council.
The number of licences for hackney cabs is capped at its current limit in Worcester but there is no limit on the number of private hire taxis, which currently sits at 59, which means it will have to be either new private hire cabs or old hackney cabs that take up the offer.