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Chelmsford City Council drops wheelchair criteria to grant 20 electric saloon style taxi licences

Image credit: Chelmsford City Council

Chelmsford City Council has taken a progressive step towards a sustainable transportation future by granting 20 Hackney Carriage licences exclusively to electric vehicles (EVs).

Under the current Chelmsford Taxi Licensing rules, all new Hackney Carriages must be wheelchair accessible. For electric vehicles, this requirement adds an additional £10,000 to £20,000 to the purchase price. In order to make EVs more accessible for drivers, this limited run of EV plates allows for the waiver of wheelchair accessibility criteria.

To incentivise city taxi drivers to transition to electric vehicles, the council's Licensing Committee released ten special Hackney Carriage plates exclusively for saloon models. The initial demand for these plates was so high that an additional ten were subsequently granted. More than 40 expressed a keen interest in obtaining these limited EV plates.

Unlike private hire licences, which must be pre-booked, Hackney Carriages can be hailed down or hired from designated taxi ranks. The 20 electric vehicles approved for licensing are all brand new, featuring a range of models from MGs to Teslas. These environmentally-friendly taxis not only look sleek but also contribute to cleaning up the city's air quality.

The council's efforts to achieve these goals and reach net-zero emissions are now further supported by the introduction of electric taxis. With 20 licensed EV taxis in the district, Chelmsford surpasses other local authorities in Essex, where the number of electric taxis typically ranges from one to four, if any exist at all.

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford said via City Life: “Seeing these electric vehicles and their green Hackney Carriage licences a very proud moment. It’s wonderful to see our city’s taxi drivers taking such pride in their cars and in their commitment to progress.

“Our aspiration now is to see wheelchair accessible electric taxis, and eventually for all vehicles in the fleet to use only clean energy. There is work to do to support this, such as installing more on-street charging stations, and of course within the current economic climate there will be challenges.

“But, with so many drivers already on board and residents equally determined to improve the air quality in our city, I believe we will meet our goals.”


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