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London taxi drivers urge new Mayor for affordable black cab options and better road access

Updated: Apr 22

Image credit: FREENOW

London's black cab drivers are urging the city's next incoming mayor to focus on more affordable vehicle options and improve road access, as revealed by a new survey conducted by FREENOW UK, a leading taxi app in the capital.

The study highlights a significant financial burden on drivers, with 94% reporting that the cost of purchasing or renting a black cab has negatively impacted their finances. A majority (71%) believe that offering cheaper vehicle alternatives should be a priority for the next mayor.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are central to the industry's future, but cost barriers hinder widespread adoption. An overwhelming 90% of drivers find it crucial to make EVs more affordable to facilitate the transition. Current incentives, such as the Plug-in Taxi Grant, play a vital role in this transition, but drivers are calling for more support.

69% of the drivers polled currently operate EVs, and there was a clear demand for additional charging points across London, with 41% of survey participants indicating that more charging infrastructure would aid in their switch to electric.

The state of London’s roads is another major issue, with nearly all surveyed (95%) noting a deterioration, largely due to the increasing prevalence of potholes.

Furthermore, access to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) remains a concern, with 87% of drivers stating that ensuring black cab access to all LTNs should be a priority for the mayor, as restricted access complicates passenger drop-offs and pick-ups.

The research also touches on the decreasing number of new driver applications, with 35% of drivers emphasising the importance of promoting the benefits of the taxi trade to attract young entrants. Other findings include 39% of drivers lacking home EV charging points, and 31% citing speed restrictions as a significant challenge in delivering quality service.

In response, FREENOW has proposed four key policies for mayoral candidates:

  1. To explore options for more affordable, fully electric black cabs for drivers

  2. To work with TfL and local boroughs to ensure black cab drivers have access through Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods

  3. To reform the Knowledge of London to make it more accessible for potential applicants

  4. To review TfL’s Driver Penalty Policy, which unfairly punishes taxi drivers compared to other drivers.

Mariusz Zabrocki, General Manager at FREENOW UK, said: “London’s mayoral elections are a significant moment for the black cab industry. We conducted this study to give drivers a voice, highlighting the real issues they face every day. We hope that the winning candidate actively listens to these concerns and takes positive action.

“At FREENOW, we are committed to supporting drivers through these challenges and are dedicated to implementing meaningful solutions. By working closely with drivers and offering a range of benefits, we remain dedicated to improving the livelihoods of all drivers in our community so they can continue servicing London’s communities.”


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