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Generation of LPG black cabs removed from roads after TfL concerns over braking systems

Updated: Mar 21

Black cab retrofit conversions have been removed from the capital’s roads after Transport for London (TfL) display concerns over the vehicles' braking systems.

Steve McNamara, the General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), explained concerning issues plaguing some of London’s iconic taxi fleet which switched to LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) conversions.

Recently, TfL mandated inspections of LPG converted cabs, resulting in the suspension of licences for a number of vehicles. The crackdown primarily targets a small batch of third-generation cabs modified by VRS in the Midlands, with TfL’s worries centring on defective braking systems.

It was revealed that certain third-generation conversions may have been improperly certified. According to McNamara, some taxis were mistakenly identified with stickers and documents as second-generation conversions, a misclassification that would have otherwise barred their approval for road use.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), said in TAXI Newspaper: “Over the years there have been various incarnations of LPG conversions to cabs. I had one for a while in the early nineties, and whilst mine was OK, I was aware that problems were rife with overheating and breakdowns. Some of the later conversions were better than others and the last batch, which were primarily done to extend the life of the cab to 15 years, were typical, insofar as some drivers had mega problems, whilst some were bullet proof.

“Last week, TfL called in a number of LPG converted cabs, inspected them and subsequently suspended the licences on the cabs concerned. It would appear that it’s a very small number of generation/stage 3 cabs converted by VRS in the Midlands and that TfL have concerns over the braking systems.

“There is also an issue over whether type approval was actually ever given for the generation/stage 3 conversions. The LTDA has been made aware by some members that it now appears some generation/stage 3 conversions were wrongly branded with stickers and paperwork, identifying them as generation/ stage 2. If these cabs had been correctly identified as stage 3, they would never have been approved.

“We are currently talking to the members concerned, TfL and VRS to try to resolve the problem.”


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