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Downgrading black taxi ‘condition of fitness’ rule would have little impact on cab prices say LTDA

Downgrading black cab ‘condition of fitness’ rules will have little impact on vehicle price and could impact ‘superior service’ offered by the capital’s cabbies.

Despite a resurgence in taxi users post-pandemic, taxi driver numbers continue to fall and costs to run a black cab have rocketed.

Some cabbies in the industry have called for reviews into the ‘condition of fitness’ drivers face around licensing. These range from removing mandatory vehicle features such as the tight turning circle to speeding up testing for applicants on the Knowledge of London.

However, the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) are keen to keep existing conditions which define the black cab service.

Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, said in TAXI Newspaper: “There has been a lot of discussion recently about the Conditions of Fitness and whether TfL should be looking at scrapping or reducing them to give drivers more choice of cab and make it cheaper to purchase or rent one. For once, I actually seem to agree with the Mayor, who recently said this would lower standards and negatively impact the trade.

“Don't get me wrong, I could see the upside if there were any cheaper vehicles available that could be converted to be used as a taxi, but there are none. A basic electric van, be it a Citroen, Peugeot or the Toyota, starts at about £42,000. Even without the turning circle, a partition, rear seats, wheelchair accessibility and an intercom will push the price very close to that of the TXE. The electric Vito would probably be £10,000 more than a TXE!

“The wheelchair accessibility is never going to be taken away and the turning circle is a key feature to a lot of drivers, which many say, ensure taxis provide a far superior service to the one offered by our rivals. Practically, the turning circle makes driving a cab on London’s narrow, congested roads workable, and if you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself doing more U-turns than ever before to avoid LTNs and other road closures.”

Assembly Member Keith Prince asked the Mayor of London whether the current standards and regulations under which London’s taxi drivers operate are too high.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “No. London’s taxis have a proud history and a global reputation as the best service of its kind. A lowering of standards would only have negative effects.”


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