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Is the London taxi market STALLING the green taxi revolution beyond London?

A buoyant second-hand electric taxi market in the capital grows hotter by the day, but that high demand could be stalling the electric revolution outside of the capital, as fewer cabs leave the London market.

Since 2018, over 6,900 zero emission capable (ZEC) have been licensed, making the capital the fastest city in the UK to to adopt the new technology. Five-years on, and as PCP leasing deals expire, a growing number of vehicles are now making up a new EV second-hand taxi market.

Historically, many of the older London taxis would find their way outside of the M25 to carry on their working life as a licensed taxi. However, high demand for second-hand EV cabs has seen the dealerships demand between £36,000- £40,000 for a 2018 black cab.

Despite the slow and steady growth in taxi vehicle numbers since the pandemic, there is still considered to be a shortage of taxis in the London market. This is pushing cabbies and fleet owners to pay top dollar for a taxi when one becomes available.

Inflation and interest rates have pushed the cost of a new LEVC TX up to record levels, which has prompted many TX owners to consider extending warranties and keeping the taxi beyond their PCP agreement. This decrease in available second-hand cabs is impacting cities like Glasgow, where drivers are desperate for an affordable zero emission capable (ZEC) taxi, and has prompted serious concerns north of the border.

Unite Union Glasgow Cab Section has long expressed worry that they could see around 1,000 iconic taxi vehicles removed from the streets for being non-compliant with new Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) rules coming in June 2023.

As of February 2022, of the 1,420 taxis licensed by Glasgow City Council, around 1,000 did not meet the new emissions criteria. Unite taxi section has called for councillors to make black cabs exempt from the scheme until 2027 to allow the sector to recover sufficiently from the Coronavirus pandemic and to allow more financially viable taxis onto the market.

So far, Glasgow City Council has stood firm on their stance, offering only a one-year extension if owners meet strict criteria set. Taxi owners can apply for a temporary exemption if they show they either do not have access to a funded retrofit solution for their taxi or that they have applied for or submitted an expression of interest in securing retrofit funding, but are waiting for the necessary upgrades to be undertaken. Only a couple of hundred cabbies have gone down this route, leaving an air of uncertainty around the future of Glasgow's taxi fleet.


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