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London EV taxi fleet owner calls for TfL and Mayor of London to help curb rising black cab costs

Updated: Jan 30

Image credit: Sherbet Taxis

The owner of London’s biggest electric taxi fleet has issued a stark warning to London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) over the rising costs of electric taxis.

Speaking at a London Assembly Transport Committee meeting, Asher Moses, CEO of Sherbet, emphasised the dire situation facing London's taxi industry, with prices for LEVC vehicles surging by 40%. This increase threatens to price out up to 12,000 licensed drivers by 2030, severely hindering the city's transition to electric taxis.

Moses, whose company boasts the largest fleet of electric black cabs in London, declared a halt to further investments in new vehicles unless substantial aid is provided. The soaring prices, now hitting the £100,000 per taxi mark, along with inadequate charging infrastructure, have placed a significant burden on the industry.

Addressing TfL's Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, Helen Chapman, and Director of Transport Strategy and Policy, Christina Calderato, Moses detailed the financial strain his business faces. Despite a past government and TfL initiative offering plug-in taxi grants of up to £7,500, this support is set to end in April, leaving the industry in a precarious position.

Asher said during the Transport Committee meeting: “As a small family business, we’ve invested over £30 million of our own personal money in line with the Mayor’s strategy to go green. Together with my fleet owner colleagues and licensed black cab drivers, we’ve invested over £600 million. A few months ago, there was an article where the Mayor said if cab drivers can’t afford to buy a vehicle, they can rent one. But they can’t afford it and even I can’t afford to buy them any longer. I’m seriously considering whether I should continue to invest in vehicles that are over £100,000 that cab drivers can’t afford to rent.

“The licensed electric black cab industry have done an amazing thing by investing so much so far. But we’ve had zero support other than the £7,500 grant. We want to continue to invest in an industry that we love. But we need both the government and TfL to do far more.”

The plight is not limited to new electric taxi purchases. There are already 5,000 licensed black cab drivers without work due to the prohibitive costs and charging challenges. Another 7,000 diesel taxi drivers face a looming deadline to switch to electric by 2030, aligning with London's net zero ambitions.

Grant Davis, Chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) said after watching the committee meeting: ‘’Having watched Asher Moses describe to City Hall just how threatened the state of the taxi trade has become, I hope the Mayor and TfL take on board his informative and passionate speech.

"Asher raised the concerns of many self-employed taxi drivers now made “unemployed“ by TfL’s neglect of the sector and the imposition of a monopoly on vehicles.

“The Mayor, when elected, promised there was to be a “renaissance“ of the taxi industry in the capital. Unfortunately, the reverse is true and he has overseen great damage to the sector.’’


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