Taxi vehicle age limit in Cambridge increased in ‘lifeline to struggling drivers’
An increase in the number of years taxis are allowed to be on the road in Cambridge has been called a “lifeline to struggling drivers”.
Cambridge City Council agreed to change its policy to increase the age limit for taxis from nine years to 11.
The authority also agreed to change its policy for new taxi drivers who were required to have a car under four years old when applying for a licence. This age limit has been removed and instead, a new taxi is required to meet a Euro 5 standard or higher.
The change aims to give drivers more choice to buy cheaper vehicles and to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis.
A petition calling for the policy changes was signed by 159 taxi drivers licensed with the council.
Ahmed Karaahmed, chairman of Cambridge City Licensed Taxis, told councillors the new policy would be a “lifeline” to “struggling drivers and their families” who he said were “grappling” with the cost of living crisis at a meeting of the city council’s licensing committee on Monday (September 11).
He added: “Just to be clear we did not ask for this only for the benefit of taxi drivers, the public will have a huge benefit too, especially the most vulnerable of our city, wheelchair users.”
Officers confirmed that the policy change will mostly impact wheelchair-accessible taxis, due to most of the saloon-style taxis already having switched over to ultra-low and zero-emission vehicles.
Cllr Gerri Bird (Lab) said there had been “a lot of problems” with having enough wheelchair-accessible taxis, and disabled people could get “stuck at home”.
She said she supported the policy change if it would help address this issue.”
Cllr Naomi Bennett (Green) added: “I am quite a regular taxi user and quite often I have to go to things without my wheelchair if I have to use a taxi because I cannot get a wheelchair taxi.
“Sometimes that is not a problem because I have other mobility aids, but sometimes it really is, so I echo what Cllr Bird has said about the importance of keeping up the wheelchair-accessible numbers.”
The committee unanimously voted to approve the policy change.