KHAN: Taxi wheelchair accessibility a ‘strength’ and ‘far from being a burden’ despite cost concerns
A fully wheelchair accessible London taxi fleet is a ‘strength’ and ‘far from being a burden’ said the Mayor of London as concerns over black cab vehicle costs rage on.
The cost of financing an electric LEVC TX can now be upwards of £100,000. That is expected to rise further after another interest rate hike of 0.25 percent earlier this month.
It is argued that PHV drivers are offered a greater choice of much cheaper vehicles which is making competition in the market harder.
One of the ideas being pushed by some in the taxi industry is to drop mandatory features on black cab vehicles like the tight turning circle and wheelchair accessibility on all cabs to reduce costs.
London Assembly Member Keith Prince put a series of questions to the Mayor on the topic of taxi wheelchair accessibility and the cost imposed on taxi drivers.
Prince said in a question to the Mayor of London: “Over the past few years, the TfL Board has told London’s taxi drivers to compete with Private Hire fares despite the fact that the cost of a London taxi is double or treble the price of an average Private Hire Vehicle (PHV).
“Will you order a review of the Metropolitan Conditions of Fitness and the decision to make all London taxis wheelchair accessible given that hardly any PHVs are wheelchair accessible?”
Assembly Member Prince went on to ask whether it was fair that London’s taxi drivers wholly carry the burden of supplying wheelchair accessible vehicles to the public despite it ‘undermining the London taxi trade’ and increasing the fares taxi drivers charge.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “I am very proud that London’s entire fleet of 15,019 taxis are wheelchair accessible and have several additional accessibility features. Taxis can be hailed on street and provide an important service to wheelchair users.
“Taxi fares are reviewed annually. When considering changes to taxi fares Transport for London updates the taxi Cost Index. The Cost Index tracks changes to taxi drivers’ operating costs and includes taxi vehicle costs.
“The PHV (London) Act 1998 contains no powers for TfL to regulate PHV fares, and this is a matter for operators to determine."
Khan added: “Far from being a “burden”, I consider it to be one of the many strengths of the London taxi industry that London’s entire fleet of 15,026 taxis is accessible to wheelchair, providing a vital service to many disabled or mobility impaired Londoners.
“Taxis can be hailed on the street unlike other vehicles on London’s roads.”