Oxford delays electric pedicabs licensing decision

PD-web-oxford-pedicab 200Oxford city council has delayed until the New Year a decision on whether or not to allow electric pedicabs to operate in the city.

Operator Veloform UK has been bidding to get its CityCruiser electric trikes licensed as tourist transportation in the city, but the city council’s general purposes licencing committee decided they could not be classed as a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle under current rules.

The council currently has a limit on the number of hackney carriages it can have, and all 107 licences are taken. Pedicabs do not qualify as private hire vehicles as they only have three wheels.

Councillors decided to delay a decision pending the outcome of the Law Commission’s judicial review of the industry, which might allow “novelty vehicles” such as the electric pedicabs to have their own class of license.

Committee chairman Colin Cook said: “I’m not particularly keen to see officers expending a fair amount of effort going down a route which may not even come to pass.”

The CityCruiser tricycles, which have a maximum speed of 25km per hour, and can work for up to eight hours a day after charging overnight.

Veloform UK managing director Andrew Hutchinson said: “At the moment all we are looking at in Oxford is the tourist market. We know they can work in cities which get a lot of visitors and tourists, for people who don’t want to do a walking tour, but don’t want one of the open-top buses.”

The CityCruisers are already operating in more than 150 cities in 50 different countries, but Oxford could be the first British city to get them. He said: “London has these 900 abysmal rickshaws, which can operate as a bicycle and can therefore do anything they like. The pedicabs weigh considerably more than a bicycle, and they are fully-licensed and have to be driven by someone over the age of 17.”

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