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OR RISK EXTINCTION


• They want versatility and to be their own operator. • They want to pick up from the roadside. • They want an affordable vehicle to purchase. • They want to feel safe with an M1 fitted screen. • They want their passengers to feel safe and comfortable. • They want a reliable well built vehicle with great MPG. • They want multiple and flexible seating options. • They want the choice to run a WAV or a non-WAV minibus or car as a hackney vehicle.


• If they want a WAV, they may want the option of a rear loading door that is safe and easy to load wheelchairs.


THE FUTURE - GO ELECTRIC:


The reality is charges are coming: • The Government has just announced that diesel and petrol engine vehicles will no longer be sold in UK from 2030.


• Hybrid vehicles will no longer be sold in the UK from 2035. • In the near future hackney and PHV drivers, particularly in large towns and cities, will incur daily CAZ charges unless they drive vehicles with less than 120g/km CO2 emissions or are fully electric or a WAV with a Euro 6 or above status; as is already the case in London.


• In Dundee ALL the trade has to use WAV Euro 6 or full EVs. But as these vehicles are so expensive to buy most drivers rent at a weekly cost of up to £350 (before lockdown) and those costs are likely to increase as demand increases.


• Any WAV converted vehicles must not have the floor cut out or be drilled near the battery. So small rear loaders will have to remain as Derv until manufacturers design a rear loader that can be made around the EV.


QUESTIONS TO PONDER Will driver’s buy or fleet owners buy an EV hackney ? Will hackney drivers go to rPH as EVs are too expensive? Can drivers or fleet owners even get finance after Covid?


• If fleet owners did buy into the EV hackney market the rental would be extremely high, as in Dundee, these full electric cars have a top hat and meter or just a WAV hack- ney that is cheaper to rent.


• If regulated cities or councils started to allow a number of current licensed WAV-only hackneys to change to a rank vehicle or even a standard hybrid or full EV-only vehicle with top hat and meter then there could be a future. The plate values, if regulated, might go back up in the near fu- ture as drivers could reinvest and only pay for the vehicle with less running costs and fuel to pay just like the private hire market plus more reliable.


• Self charging hybrids compared to full EVs for now is the best form of hackney size as EVs are so heavy and until cities put underfloor charging pads beneath their ranks that are wireless, allowing the ability to recharge while on the


FEBRUARY 2021


rank, then this problem will continue. As most hackney WAVs are so heavy in comparison, the more customers that sit in a fully electric large vehicle, dissipate the effectiveness of the range of travel, as the increased mass affects mileage.


• Self charging hybrid vehicles can work longer shifts with less down time and have no dpf or injector issues. Also automatics emit less CO2 and incur no charges in CAZs.


• Drivers could be helped to purchase these vehicles when reg- ulated with government grants. Furthermore, councils could also issue a number of free hackney plates. However in order to protect plate values councils could set conditions by re- quiring a brand new full EV or MPV has a top hat and meter and stipulating that all vehicles are a specific colour as other councils when issuing free licences. Any current hackney driver can upgrade his vehicle to a new hybrid vehicle and colour. Any current licensed hackneys can purchase a used euro 6 vehicle and have a tested certification ramp conver- sion fitted into a minibus to meet WAV requirements.


CALL TO COUNCILS:


Councils nationwide need to realise that in order for the hackney industry to continue into the future, there must be flexibility. The prohibitive costs for all hackney drivers to buy a vehicle that can accommodate all roles is financially unviable and unattainable. Change is needed otherwise the hackney trade will fail as EV costs in a WAV will be so high.


Halton BC, part of Liverpool City regions, allows these differ- ent vehicles to be licenced and is a great example for other councils to follow: A-Cab private hire, A-Cabbi hackney, E-Pass PH screened vehicle, E-Vision hackney, E-Cab and E-Cabbi are passed by adapting used vehicles.


IN CONCLUSION:


• We need to adapt Euro 6 used multiple seated vehicles either to be WAVs or screened vehicles.


• We need to have a percentage of hackneys that do not do any wheelchair work to be allowed to go into EV cars.


• We need large shopping trolley and pram taxis to do the daily work that is required in most areas of the country.


• We need seating to be turned around in an EV for the type of work done on the ranks and for contract work.


• We need M1 status vehicles for council/insurance certification.


There is no doubt that our industry is evolving and in order to survive the hackney trade needs to evolve with it. These are our thoughts on what we believe will ensure the future viability of the hackney industry – if you think this also, then group together and speak to your councils as without their support change cannot happen.


Article written by Shaun Marnell Director Car ‘n’ Cab Care Ltd 0151 678 3066 www.carandcab.co.uk


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