11:00AM, Sunday 01 October 2017
A trial of new electric pool cars before a fleet is bought was the recommendation made by councillors on Wednesday night.
The Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which met at Windsor Guildhall, discussed proposals for the council to buy 10 electric or hybrid cars to replace the current 13 pool cars.
They would be used by council staff and also for a car club scheme at weekends, where signed-up residents could make use of them.
Speaking from experience, chairman of the panel Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) warned against using the new technology without testing it first.
Last year when Cllr Rayner was cabinet member for highways and transport a parking payment system was installed in Maidenhead.
It faced problems and did not work effectively for months.
“We keep jumping in to new technology in the Royal Borough when we don’t know anything about it,” he said.
“We have this thing as a council that we buy 10 of everything without trying them first.
“I think the club scheme is a very good idea but we want to find out teething problems first, not our residents.”
He added that in his job as a farmer they trial tractors for a year before buying a full fleet.
The existing contract for the current pool cars, 13 Mini Coopers, still exists and the proposal is to cut the contract short by a year, which would incur costs.
Cllr Eileen Quick (Con, Clewer East) said: “Why are we trying to bring this forward a year early when we could wait until a bigger choice of cars become available?”
Councillors also raised the issue of where charging points would be placed, when on street parking in Windsor and Maidenhead is in high demand.
In the end, the panel decided to put forward a recommendation to get a six-month lease on a hybrid and electric car, identify a partner for a car club scheme and to retain the existing fleet until the end of the contract.
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