Plans to introduce pedicabs to Oxford’s streets have been put in a spin after the Council delayed the decision until November 2013.
The electrically-assisted tricycles had been the subject of a bid by Veloform UK which was attempting to gain a private hire licence for its vehicles to operate in the city.
The company hoped to provide pre-booked tours to tourists using their City Cruiser vehicles.
As things stand, pedicabs cannot be classed either as Hackney carriages or as private hire vehicles. Government legislation may however change this, possibly leading the vehicles to be classified as Hackney Carriages.
If this occuurs, then the introduction of pedicabs into Oxford seems unlikely, as the city’s 107 hackney carriage licences are already taken.
Andrew Hutchinson, the Veloform Managing Director, said that whilst the company is “disappointed” at the delay, they understand that the council are waiting for the wider Government review of laws governing the licensing of taxis and other private hire vehicles. He said that in face of the review, due to take place in November 2013, it would be illogical to allow Veloform a licence which may then be revoked.
In the meantime, the company are hoping to market the City Cruisers to local hoteliers for ferrying guests around Oxford, as the vehicles only need a licence if money changes hands.
Whilst the delay until the New Year seems set to stay, Oxford students seem largely in favour of the scheme.
Josie Oliver, a first year Historian at Lincoln, said: “[I]n these tough economic times, a scheme like this could provide much needed jobs in Oxford”.
Ben Kybett, an Ancient Historian at Magadalen was equally positive, saying that it is “an interesting scheme which should be taken further”.
The green credentials of the vehicles, powered by pedal and electric motor, also seem to be a hit with the student population. Kybett added: “This attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint is welcome”.
Although the student population seems to be in favour of the plans, there are possible concerns over the effect the vehicles may have on traffic congestion. City centre congestion in Oxford is already high, and plans to introduce more vehicles into the city, even those with good environmental credentials, could have a negative effect on traffic flow.