Obviously, the hot topic on everyone’s lips at the moment is the scandalous announcement by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, of his intention to consult on cutting the taxi age limit to just 12 years. What made it even worse was the fact he decided that just before Christmas was the time to announce it, or if you are more cynically inclined, to bury the bad news. Then he also decided he wouldn’t even bother giving us any details about how or when it might be implemented but said we would have to wait for the consultation early in 2019 to see the finer details.
What is even considered as early in the year? Is that January? Maybe February Could it even be April? How long will the consultation last two months? Three months? Maybe four months? Then there’s the period after the consultation where we get the collated information and summaries, before we finally get the decision. That will mean we will be in limbo until the summer of 2019 at best, but perhaps even as late as Christmas 2019. So, many of us will be spending a whole year not knowing what we should do with the cab we’re currently driving, is that any way to treat the world’s greatest taxi trade? So, what have we been told? Well, this announcement pretty much sums it up: “In early 2019, we will also consult on proposals to reduce taxi emissions further, including a proposal of phased reductions of the taxi age limit for the dirtiest vehicles to 12 years. The 15-year age limit would be strictly mandated in 2019, with a proposed reduction in the age limit each year until a 12-year age limit is reached. The age limit for Euro 6, LPG and Zero-Emission Capable taxis is proposed to remain at 15 years. The consultation will launch early next year.” So, if you’re currently driving a Euro 6 TX4 (approx. 16 plate) or Mercedes Vito (approx. 66 plate) you will still get 15 years along with the TXe and cabs running on LPG. The latter of course could have had a lifespan of up to 20 years, if a cab in its last year of its diesel life was converted to LPG, thus giving an extra five years. For the rest of us they are proposing to lower the age limit to 14 years in 2020, 13 years in 2021 and finally 12 years in 2022. This isn’t the first time they’ve tried to lower our age limit. We defeated them last time and let me assure you the LTDA will be doing everything it can to prevent this unnecessary attack on hard working cabbies, which has wiped millions of equity from the value of taxis at a stroke. Let’s be clear they have no real proof that we’re as dirty as they claim. The 20% of pollution we’re blamed for, or the 40,000 premature deaths figure is all complete and utter tosh. They seem to be of the view that “if we say it often enough, it becomes true.” It is in effect a straw man, a manufactured a problem, which never existed before, built up to show that they are taking action: blame us, white vans and then use a sledge hammer to crack the nut. Clearly, with all the outrage from the minicab trade about being forced to pay the C-Charge, TfL can’t be seen to be letting us off the hook. But what they have failed to take in to account is that they are delivering a slap in the face to people who have already taken up the challenge and are going green as fast as they can, with more than 1,000 electric cabs on the roads already, despite there being only one relatively expensive option. At the current rate of change we will be fully zero emission capable before TfL’s beloved London bus service, but yet they still want more blood. What an insult!