A London taxi advertising group held talks this week with both the Mayor of Hackney and Hackney Council to discuss the ULEV road restrictions that have been imposed in the Borough. The talks held at Hackney Town Hall at the start of this week came after calls for a rethink were needed from London Taxi PR.
The group argued that passengers of the licensed taxis should maintain access to public vehicle in all areas regardless whether the taxi is emission free or not. LTPR were particularly keen to support those passengers with disabilities who rely on London Taxis as part of the public transportation system, to retain their independence for transport purposes. LTPR has gained support for their campaign to have these restrictions lifted for all London Taxis. Organisations include Transport for All, an advocacy group who champion the rights of Disabled and older people to travel with independence in London. The London Taxicard scheme alone has over 70,000 registered users with physical and/or sensory impairments and across London each day up to 8,000 trips are taken by older and disabled people in accessible London taxis. Inclusion London, which supports over 70 deaf and disabled organisations working across every London borough have also offered their support for LTPR’s campaign. Both of their supporting statements with regards to the implications of restrictions of movement and their freedom of choice that is being applied to passengers who may be elderly or have disabilities, were just one of the main concerns that were highlighted by LTPR during the meeting with the Mayor of Hackney. LTPR informed Hackney’s Mayor, Philip Glanville, that since the ULEV road traffic restrictions were instigated into the Borough of Hackney last year they have in the opinion of LTPR taken away the ability for customers to choose Taxis to travel to and from these areas. The advertising and PR organisation also added these restrictions could be seen as effectively as a restraint of trade being applied to the London Taxi profession, by restricting their ability to move around freely, thereby forcing them into the same traffic as all other motorists. In a statement from LTPR a spokesperson said: “By restricting access to roads in the Boroughs of London such as Hackney, they are effectively being forced into only being able to offer a 5% service to customers, due to only 5% of London Taxis currently being electric. “Even though the restrictions apply for a period of hours, they are still preventing access for the remaining 95% of the working Taxi fleet and their passengers, which would result in passengers being dropped off and picked up at least 150 metres from their desired point in many instances. It was expressed that this would result in passengers being unwilling to use London Taxis and also tarnish their reputation for being able to offer a door to door service.”
The group awaits a response back from the Hackney Mayor and council representatives on the topic.