Alongside the Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan, the city-region’s 10 local authorities have agreed to collectively develop a common set of minimum standards for taxi and private hire services covering the whole of the area.
Recognising the important role that the region’s taxis and private hire vehicles play in the transport network, plans to introduce common minimum standards across the city-region’s 10 local authorities will help provide high-quality services for residents and visitors, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office has said.
Standards would cover drivers, operators and vehicles, and go further and greener than the Government’s new standards for the sector by including a step-by-step pathway to reducing emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles.
The aim is to have an entirely zero emission taxi and private hire fleet across Greater Manchester by the end of the decade.
For drivers, this would include common standards on criminal record checks, local area knowledge tests, English language skills and driving proficiency.
For vehicles, there would be a set standard on vehicle emissions, ages, colour, common livery, the use of CCTV, and accessibility. Operators would also be subject to criminal record checks and to follow stringent booking processes.
With plans for an emission-free fleet across the city region by the end of the decade, Greater Manchester will look to minimise the impact on the trade and incentivise the switch to electric or low carbon vehicles while meeting Clean Air Plan targets.
As well as funding support to move to greener vehicles, Greater Manchester is proposing a ‘Try Before You Buy’ scheme for Hackney carriage drivers to test-drive electric taxis, and a network of taxi-only rapid electric vehicle charging points.
The news comes as Greater Manchester leaders unveiled a clear single vision supported by three complementary plans that will accelerate the city-region’s 2038 zero carbon ambitions, build a greener economy and deliver a long term plan for development.
Later this year, businesses, residents and elected councillors across Greater Manchester will have the chance to input on Greater Manchester’s Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment, the Spatial Framework, as well as key elements of the Clean Air Zone, and to finalise and set the minimum standards for taxis and private hire vehicles licensed in the city-region.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester has always been a place of progressive thinking, where we work together to achieve our potential. We are now taking action to deliver real clarity about where we are going as we emerge from this crisis.
“We want quality homes, quality jobs, and space that allows us all to live happier, healthier lives. We have an unprecedented opportunity to build back cleaner, greener and better in Greater Manchester following the coronavirus pandemic, and we want this future to be shaped by the people who live and work here.
“These plans will allow us to progress our plans to achieve our long-term ambitions, working together across our 10 local councils, to build a strong recovery while reducing inequalities.”