Southend Council appeals for volunteer taxi drivers to help with locations of new electric charge points

Taxi drivers are being asked to help the council decide where four new charge points for electric taxis should be installed.

The council is calling for up to 50 drivers to take part in the exercise that will result in the new charge points being installed for exclusive use by taxi drivers.

To measure the best location for the four charge points, volunteer taxi drivers will be asked to install a device to their vehicles for a month which will track their location and show the highlight the busiest routes.

The data will be completely anonymous and used only to track where there is the most activity.

Councillor Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, said: “Just like local households, taxi drivers need help and support to embrace the change to low emissions vehicles and particularly access to charging infrastructure, and I am pleased that this important piece of work is progressing.

“We need to know where best to put the four rapid chargers, and so consultation with the taxi trade has already begun.

“However, we are seeking volunteers to have a device fitted to their vehicles for a month so that we can identify the best locations for the chargers from the activity.

“These drivers will receive a personalised report showing how suitable electric vehicles would be for them and the savings they would make in their running costs.

“The tracking study is due to start during October, so that we can choose locations, and then procure and install the chargers in the first half of 2020.”

The new charge points are part of a wider plan to significantly improve electric car infrastructure in the borough with the aim of having more than 100 charge points across Southend by March 2020.

Funding for the project will come from a £90,000 grant received from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Promoting better air quality for future generations is a priority for this administration and encouraging sustainable transport is one part of the puzzle.

“Because taxis are relatively high mileage users, they have specific charging needs and need dedicated infrastructure to ensure they are able to top up their batteries.

“We hope that installing more rapid rechargers will make it easier for taxi drivers to consider making the switch.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter