In support of the Welsh Government aim to ‘reduce the carbon footprint of taxis and private hire vehicles to zero by 2028’, The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal Office commissioned Cenex to develop an ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) taxi strategy for the region. This covers 5,700 hackney carriage and private hire vehicles licensed by the ten local authorities that constitute CCR in South East Wales.
Development of a regional ULEV taxi strategy is considered particularly challenging due to the following factors:
- Vehicle conditions of licensing are the responsibility of individual local authorities and there are currently no national minimum standards. As such there can be significant regional variation in maximum vehicle age limits, minimum emissions standards and allowable vehicle types (particularly for wheelchair accessible vehicles)
- Vehicle operations are diverse including a combination of different operating modes (plying for hire, from taxi ranks or pre-booked through a licenced operator), different driving environments (dense urban, rural and motorway) and a wide range of mileages (typically ranging from 40 to 150 miles per day)
- The ULEV taxi strategy must contribute to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions whilst also ensuring local compliance with legal limits for air quality pollutant emissions in the shortest possible timescales
The project delivered a peer reviewed ULEV Taxi Strategy and Full Business Case for supporting incentive measures through the following activities:
- Review of current licensing policy and best practice from other local authorities
- Quantification of current fleet composition and emissions
- Review of real-world ULEV taxi operational capabilities and total cost of ownership
- Online trade surveys, local authority workshops and interviews with suppliers
- Development of licensing scenarios including the impact on fleet emissions and the required number of ULEVs
- Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG) assessment of preferred incentive measures using the Five Case Model (Strategic, Transport, Financial, Commercial and Management)
- Impact and value for money assessments including social damage cost savings
The ULEV Taxi Strategy provides the CCR local authorities with the framework required to achieve a zero-tailpipe emissions fleet by 2028. This requires the standardisation of vehicle licensing conditions alongside a significant package of incentive measures to support the early phased introduction of plug-in grant eligible ULEVs.Since completion of the project, the CCR Transport Authority has successfully been awarded £1.3 million from the Welsh Government Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Transformation Fund (2020/2021). £1,040,000 of this funding is to be used for electric taxi charging infrastructure with a further £56,000 allocated to trade engagement activities via an Electric Vehicle Roadshow. Providing financial incentives to vehicle proprietors is deemed critical to the success of the ULEV taxi strategy. CCR recognise this and are in ongoing discussions with the Welsh Government regarding options for providing a national incentive scheme, thereby delivering a step change in ULEV taxi uptake across the whole of Wales.