Reading Borough Council has welcomed the announcement that up to 113 black cabs can be converted to operate on CNG. The Council’s successful £368,750 bid to convert a significant proportion of the town’s Hackney Carriage fleet to a dual fuel system was confirmed by Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer, during the launch of Reading Buses own natural gas station – the first and largest of its type in the United Kingdom.
The station, located at Reading Buses’ Great Knollys Street depot will power the operator’s fleet. Under the Council initiative, black cab drivers with converted vehicles will also be able to ‘fill up’ at the new site. “Reading Buses is leading the way in this area with nearly 40% of their buses either hybrid or gas powered – the largest proportion of any fleet in the country. I am delighted we have now been successful in ensuring the town’s black cab fleet can follow suit,” said Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport.
“The opportunity for Reading’s black cab drivers to convert their vehicles to gas is the latest in a long line of Council initiatives aimed at providing environmentally friendly transport options for the town. The conversion system is predicted to significantly reduce operating costs for drivers and we therefore anticipate a strong demand for the grant scheme,” added Page.
Under the initiative, Reading Borough Council will administer a grant scheme to award funding to individual taxi drivers for the purchase of the conversion for their vehicle. The grant will only be available for TX4 type taxis, as older models cannot be converted. At present there are 113 out of 223 black cabs in Reading which can be converted, but it is hoped that some drivers with older taxis may consider purchasing a TX4 to be eligible for the CNG conversion.
Source: Reading Borough Council/UK Department for Transport