The London Assembly has today called for the Mayor to maintain the maximum taxi licence age at 15 years and bring back the Mercedes Vito taxi for first time registration. The Mayor introduced a phased reduction of the maximum age of a licenced taxi from 15 years to 12 years in December 2018. He also plans to change the criteria for annual registration by mandating the maximum age, meaning that from November 2019 a taxi will no longer be registered unless it has one whole year left before its maximum age, rather than one day as at present.
The London Assembly suggests that this will remove approximately 3,000 taxis from service in the year beginning November 2019, as well as another 1,500 in the year beginning November 2020, and a further 1,500 in the year beginning November 2021. The Assembly also points out that the Mayor currently allows only one model to be licenced new: the LEVC TXE. The London Assembly are however concerned that production levels of the LEVC TXE are nowhere near high enough to replace the 6,000 taxis which will be removed from service over the next 3 years. The cross party Assembly say the effect of this will cause real hardship and disruption to many London taxi drivers, who simply will not be able to purchase or hire a new taxi due to lack of supply. It is suggested that at least 6,000 taxi drivers will be unable to work, which will cause financial, emotional and mental hardship to them and their families. The Assembly have therefore called upon the Mayor to reconsider his plans and to maintain the maximum taxi licence age at 15 years. Members of the Assembly have also called upon the Mayor to restore the Mercedes Vito as an approved vehicle for first time taxi registrations until such time as there is greater supply and competition in the market for new taxis, and more electric charging points are available in Central London which can be accessed easily by taxi drivers. David Kurten AM, who proposed the motion said: “My motion calls upon the Mayor not to reduce the maximum age of a taxi from 15 years as this will hurt taxi drivers. “It also calls on him to restore the Mercedes Vito as there has been no competition in the taxi sales market for nearly 2 years. This will also be of great benefit to London's taxi drivers.” Keith Prince AM, who seconded the motion said: “London’s black cabs are a great national institution which the Mayor should be going to great lengths to protect and preserve. “But the sad reality is that the black cab industry is being weakened through a series of measures, including the perverse plan to reduce the maximum age of an older licenced taxi from 15 to 12 years. Make no mistake, the Mayor’s approach will force taxi drivers out of work and cause untold damage. “It is now incumbent on the Mayor to go back to the drawing board and re-think these illogical and harmful proposals.”
Image credit: Greater London Authority (Caroline Teo)