“It feels like the issue of air pollution has never been higher on the agenda in London than it is at present. We in the taxi trade often bear the brunt of criticism around vehicle emissions, but we’ve got to be part of the solution. As drivers, we don’t want to breathe in polluted air for hours on end!
“The high profile of the air quality issue is what has brought the proposal to reduce taxi age limits to 12 years. As I make my rounds to lobby for our alternative proposal, to keep the age limit and use funds from the delicensing scheme to convert all the Euro V cabs to Euro VI, I am constantly making the point at City Hall, TfL and with every politician that I meet, that our trade is doing more than any other to clean up our air.
“We have invested well over £100 million in new vehicles and there are now almost 2,000 zero-emission capable (ZEC) taxis on the streets, with more drivers choosing to invest to the tune of 40 plus new cabs every week. This figure can only go up with more choice and more availability, when the new Nissan Dynamo fully electric cab launches later this year, making it easier for even more drivers to make the switch. “One of the biggest challenges we face with all these new cabs on the road is the lack of rapid electric charging points for taxis in London. That’s why I was very disappointed to see his response to Shaun Bailey AM, his Conservative rival for the mayoralty next year, when he asked a question in the London Assembly last week about taxi-only rapid charging points. Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the 200 rapid charging points in London, plus 1,000 lamp column charge points in residential areas to charge overnight, represented “more than enough capacity as things stand.”
“That’s certainly not what we’re hearing from many of you. We need more rapid chargers, particularly in central London, and far more than 72 of these need to be specifically for taxis.
“We’re not alone in saying more has to be done to roll out electric charging points. Last weekend, the National Infrastructure Commission, which advises Government on planning future infrastructure, said that there needs to be a core network of charging points covering the UK by the early 2020s. It called on the Government to take “more direct and ambitious action” including subsidising the provision of rapid charging points, getting local authorities to make space availablenfor them and making it easier for providers to connect to the electricity network. The LTDA agrees, and I will be writing to the commission to make sure that they take the specific needs of the taxi trade into account. “It’s clear that the mayor’s carrot-and-stick approach to reducing taxi emissions is all stick and no carrot. With the election for the next London ayor coming up in 2020, candidates will be looking for the cabbie vote, and the LTDA will encourage all candidates to adopt policies that support the trade.”