The race to become the next Mayor of London has well and truly sparked into life. The runners have all been confirmed and TaxiPoint are pleased to talk taxis with the latest contender looking to close the gap on the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Welcome London Real Party candidate and founder of Real London... Brian Rose.
In your opinion what core values does the licensed taxi service bring to London?
“When we think London’s licensed taxis, we think of safety, trust, reliability and accessibility. Cabbies are there to help – and cabs are iconic, and have long been used as shorthand for London, something every driver should be proud of.”
What improvements / changes could be made to the service offered by London’s cab drivers and fleet owners?
“The initial priority has to be getting cabs back on the road – cars parked in fields can’t offer any level of service. And Covid-safety needs to be a default, not something wheeled out when virus levels spike.”
Would licensed taxis be part of the integrated transport network in your Transport Strategy if elected?
“Yes – Sadiq Khan’s muddle-headed decision to exclude cabs from the integrated transport network is politicking at its worst. Of course, even electric cabs create pollution but so do all forms of transport, and excluding cabs in no way addresses this issue.
“Additionally, those who cannot easily use public transport or walk to their destinations must be recognised in any truly integrated transport strategy, and easy-access cabs with a door-to-door service are the obvious way to do that.”
Should licensed London taxi drivers have access to all bus lanes and bus gates in London?
“There should be a presumption of access – in particular, to protect the rights of elderly and less able people, but also to help drivers carry out their jobs and to reduce pollution and congestion. That means revisiting all the existing restrictions and lifting them unless an over-riding and exceptional case can be made for retention. In addition, the illegal Streetspace scheme will be abolished and the hated Bishopsgate bus gate will be one of the first things to go.”
A public or private service? How would you view the licensed taxi industry if elected?
“It’s an interesting question, because cabs are a private service but integrating them into the transport network could bring additional public obligations. But, ultimately, the people best-placed to run taxis are those in the taxi business, not politicians.”
The number of licensed taxi drivers, fleet vehicles and Knowledge students are dropping at an alarming rate. How will you aim to reverse this trend if elected as Mayor of London?
“Cabs need to be put at the heart of an integrated transport policy and, equally importantly, we need to get London back to work so there is a proper customer base for taxis.”
Transport for London has for some time called for powers to place a cap on the number of taxi and private hire licences available in the capital. Is this a policy that you would continue to support as Mayor of London?
“At a time when numbers applying to learn the Knowledge are falling, it is essential to work with the cab industry and private hire sector to ensure London has a service that is fit for the 21st century.”
As Mayor of London how would you support the continued greening of London’s black cab fleet?
“We need to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Huge steps have already been taken by the trade but we want London to be at the forefront of a transport revolution. That means thinking creatively about issues including charging points, and running experiments with breakthrough technology such as induction charging.”