London’s black cabs should retain access to the capital’s bus lanes during the COVID-19 ease-down to help drive the economy and lower congestion, says Sherbet London CEO.
The latest statement comes following Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon’s call for the London Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) to immediately reject any proposals to restrict road access to taxis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pidgeon contacted the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to raise her concerns over initial proposals put forward last week.
In May, TfL announced plans to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world. The drastic measures were thought to be necessary to enable safe social distancing as lockdown restrictions are eased and also help aid an increase in people walking and cycling.
Whilst London’s transport regulator indicated that they would work with the taxi industry during the “detailed design” of the new Streetspace network, there has only been mentions of zero emission capable taxis being allowed access to some of the restricted areas.
Pidgeon AM raised concerns that this measure to potentially exclude a section of the industry would cause undue “economic hardship” on diesel taxi drivers and could slow down the greening of the taxi fleet over time. It was also noted that “the provision of taxis operating in central London is vital to ensure disabled access is maintained”.
This view was backed by Asher Moses, CEO of one of London’s biggest electric taxi fleet investors, who also outlined why black cabs should retain access to bus lanes in London.
Asher Moses, CEO and Founder of Sherbet London, said: “I am amazed that we are in this position as London taxis are an integral part of London’s Transport Network. It has to be in the best interest of all Londoners and international tourism, and the London economy depends on so much that London purpose build taxis continue to proudly lead the globe in e-taxi mobility.
“Yes taxis should have access to bus lanes. I really cannot see how any other decision can help London’s congestion, whilst also expecting London taxi drivers to keep fares low and invest in electric taxis to help London go green.
“I do wish that stakeholders of London and Londoners revisit its policies on London taxis. You have 22,000 Londoners invested in London, living in London and pay taxes in London. The taxi industry contributes £1.4billion in licensed taxi fares alone to the capital’s economy which is screaming out.
“We can do this, we are the best, let us help London and Londoners take pride in its iconic assets that sets us worlds apart.”
More details around taxi access during the coronavirus pandemic is expected to be announced imminently.