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London Mayor urges taxi drivers to make ‘full use’ of Government grants to halt decline in fleet

Image credit: Greater London Authority

Sadiq Khan has urged taxi drivers to make full use of the Government’s financial support schemes to halt the steep decline in taxi vehicle numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Transport for London (TfL) data, the number of licensed black cabs has dropped to just 13,660 in the week ending 28 February. 3,950 of those are Zero Emissions Capable (ZEC) taxis which include the LEVC TX and Nissan Dynamo models.

In the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland there has been targeted financial support for taxi drivers facing high running costs. In England, support for taxi drivers has been much lower and available via Local Authorities at varying rates.

Transport for London (TfL), the UK’s biggest taxi and private hire licensing authority, has not provided any extra financial support to drivers, but have offered free PPE, cleaning products and stickers to those able to continue working.

London Assembly Member, Keith Prince, asked the Mayor of London: “With plummeting values of all models, including ZECs, within the taxi fleet. Is the Mayor concerned for the uptake of new ZEC vehicles and the potential problem this will cause current manufacturers?”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, replied: “I am very proud that London’s taxi trade has led the way in the early adoption of Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) technology and Transport for London (TfL) has now licensed more than nearly 4,000 of these cleaner, greener vehicles. TfL continues to provide financial support for drivers in the form of a contribution to the £7,500 grant for the purchase of a ZEC taxi; a delicensing scheme to remove older vehicles from the fleet; and on-street rapid charging infrastructure.

“In recent months Transport for London (TfL) has maintained a very regular dialogue with stakeholders from across the taxi and private hire industries, to understand their concerns and the impact the pandemic is having on their sector.

“I know this has been a very difficult time for drivers, fleet owners and vehicle manufacturers. Sadly, the difficulties they face are being experienced by many other professions across London and the rest of the UK. It is a concern to see a reduction in the overall number of taxi vehicles in the fleet and I would encourage all those impacted by the pandemic to make full use of the Government financial support schemes available. Details have been set out in a number of Taxi and Private Hire Notices published by TfL.

“TfL continues to explore options available to help support the industry throughout the pandemic and I know the trade stakeholders have responded positively to this approach.”

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