23rd May, 2019

Council seeks to modernise taxi fleet amid Uber competition and tuk-tuks could soon be on city streets

Felix Nobes 20th Nov, 2018 Updated: 21st Nov, 2018

RICKSHAW-style tuk-tuks and pedicabs could soon be on Coventry streets – alongside measures to modernise taxi travel amid competition from Uber.

A tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled motored rickshaw popular in Asian nations, while a pedicab is a pedalled tricycle carrying passengers on the back.

But people in Coventry will not be able to hail them in the street and will have to pre-book – with all journeys limited to inside the ring road and around the railway station.

More council-licensed private hire vehicle companies – including those based outside the city – would be permitted to use app-based services enabling passengers to book taxis using their mobile phones, and they could pay fares using contactless and card payments.

Coventry City Council’s ruling Labour cabinet will discuss the plans on Tuesday.

Council leaders claim the changes will prepare the city for a tourism boom during UK City of Culture in 2021 and improve air quality.

Councillors will be asked to approve a public consultation on proposals to grant licences based on emissions rather than the age of a vehicle.

At present, the council’s policy is that Hackney carriage black cabs over 10 years old and private hire vehicles over six years will not be licensed.

The council says it is accelerating its campaign to have zero-emission taxis and private hire vehicles by 2024.

Cabinet member for city services councillor Jayne Innes said: “We are determined to continue to improve the air quality in the city and the change to checking vehicles through emissions rather than age is an obvious way we can make a difference and create a cleaner, healthier city for us all.

“The changes are being brought in after consultation and include things that customers really want to see – such as contactless and card payment and the introduction of Tuk Tuks and pedicabs.

“It will help to make us more tourist-friendly and give a real atmosphere to the city centre, helping people to easily travel between our many attractions and enjoy something a little more out of the ordinary.”

Other changes would see compulsory refresher training for all drivers around disability and child exploitation and new ways of testing drivers applying for a licence.

Tuk-tuk and pedicab drivers would have to be trained for their vehicle and would not be licensed to drive any other form of taxi.

Coventry council leaders have run a long campaign against app-based Uber taxis competing and ‘undercutting’ black cabs on Coventry streets, after being licenced by out-of-town authorities, notably Wolverhampton.

Councillors will discuss the changes at a meeting on November 27.

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