The 15 year age limit on taxis within the London area has always been a bone of contention amongst taxi drivers, after all why should a perfectly good vehicle be taken off of the road after a mere 15 years if the vehicle is mechanically compliance and the bodywork is in good order.
Unfortunately due to the ever changing emissions regulations, these vehicles upon reaching 15 years are considered no longer fit for purpose by Transport for London.
This does raise an interesting question as to what happens when the new electric taxis reach the 15 year age limit.
At this moment in time nobody can say for sure as to what may happen in the future. There has, of course been lobbying from different quarters to try and get the age limit either extended or removed altogether, given that these vehicles will be non, or near non-polluting.
Extending the current age limit from 15 to 20 years may encourage drivers to purchase of the new LEVC taxi sooner rather than later. Changing the age limit could go some way to mitigating the high cost of the vehicle.
We asked for a statement from Transport for London pertaining to this issue. Helen Chapman, TfL’s Interim Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said:
“The 15-year age limit for taxis was introduced as part of the drive to tackle London’s air quality crisis. Diesel black cabs make a significant contribution to the city’s toxic air. Urgent action is needed to reduce the pollution they cause.
“Our requirement for all new taxis that are licensed for the first time to be zero emission capable began on 1 January and we will monitor how this and other air quality requirements work together.”
This statement may be an encouraging sign given that past efforts to extend the current age limit have been arbitrarily dismissed due to taxis being a significant contributor to London's toxic air quality, and are responsible for 16 per cent of NOx and 26 per cent of Particulate Matter (PM) road transport emissions in central London.
Clearly Transport for London will be looking at this in the future, however, at moment, the taxi industry can only wait.