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Reading Council set to phase out petrol and diesel taxis by 2028 and put more focus on app operators

In an effort to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, Reading Borough Council is considering significant changes to the operation of taxis in the area.

The proposed strategy for 2023-2028 aims to phase out the use of petrol and diesel cars by requiring all taxis and private hire vehicles to be either electric or hybrid by 2028.

This means that the 225 taxis, 392 private hire vehicles, and 118 executive private hire vehicles currently in operation would need to transition to electric or hybrid vehicles within the next five years.

Furthermore, the strategy acknowledges the growing influence of technology in the taxi industry. The rise of app-based services has revolutionised how passengers engage with taxi services. App-based companies, like Ola Cabs, have already been licensed in the borough and are subject to the same regulations as other operators.

The strategy reads: “The adoption of new technology by the sector and most significantly by the public, has resulted in a much-changed sector. The biggest change is the ease with which passengers can engage services using an app on a mobile phone.

“The council is supportive of technological developments which both improve the customer experience and ensure safety measures are adhered to. App-based companies are licensed in the Borough and are subject to the same conditions and requirements as other operators.

“The council will consider new applications which are in line with this strategy and comply with legal requirements.”

The strategy also highlights the council's commitment to maintaining the integrity of bus services in Reading. While some private hire drivers have expressed a desire for access to bus lanes, the council is cautious about potential impacts on bus service reliability. It may consider restricting access to bus lanes for taxis based on their pollution levels, prioritising access for the cleanest vehicles.

The strategy reads: “The council will continue to monitor the use of bus lanes and consider if any further traffic orders could be trialled or introduced.

“The council considers that any changes to access must not undermine bus services and reliability and, if made, should primarily support Reading licensed vehicles.”

The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Strategy 2023-2028 is currently undergoing a consultation process, allowing stakeholders and the public to provide their input on the proposed changes.


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