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‘DISAPPOINTING’: London taxi trade not mentioned during Transport Committee meeting with TfL


FREENOW's General Manager has expressed ‘disappointment’ following the omission of the taxi industry from discussions at the latest London Assembly Transport Committee meeting with Transport for London (TfL).


This oversight comes at a critical juncture for the iconic London taxi trade, which has seen the number of licensed drivers plummet to a historic low since 1981, totalling just 17,568.

Highlighting the pressing need for targeted support from City Hall, the FREENOW General Manager, Mariusz Zabrocki, called for the setting of ambitious targets to restore the number of Black Cab drivers and vehicles to pre-pandemic figures. Key to this revival, he argues, is the reform and promotion of the Knowledge of London, alongside addressing the prohibitive costs associated with acquiring vehicles for potential drivers.


This week’s meeting of the London Assembly Transport Committee, attended by notable figures such as Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, and TfL Commissioner, Andy Lord, focused on various aspects of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, including fare structures and the ULEZ expansion. However, the absence of any discussion on the taxi industry has sparked concerns over the sector's visibility and prioritisation within the city's transport agenda.

Zabrocki said: “It's disappointing to see that the future of the taxi trade was not even mentioned during today's Transport Committee. As the iconic Black Cab industry has hit the lowest number of licensed drivers since 1981 (17,568), FREENOW believes Black Cabs need to become a priority for City Hall by setting a target to ensure the number of black cab drivers and vehicles returns at least to pre-pandemic levels so everyone can book a black cab when they need one. To achieve it, it will be crucial to reform and promote the Knowledge of London more generally and address the extremely high cost of vehicles, which are prohibitive for many drivers.

 

"As a private company, there is so much we can do, but we took the first step to tackle the lack of cab drivers by launching an industry-first Knowledge subsidy that supports drivers so they don't have to worry about the costs associated with the knowledge of London and can progress in their careers and become black cab drivers. To date, through this FREENOW initiative, over 200 drivers are already enrolled with the Knowledge Schools."

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