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London taxi rep shares driver concerns on high vehicle costs and over-inflated second-hand market

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

A London taxi industry representative shared members' concerns about the trade and the vehicles available to drive, in an open letter to regulators Transport for London (TfL).

Grant Davies, London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) Chairman, delivered his opinion on the high costs associated with the one vehicle currently available to buy on the market.

Since 2018 over 6,600 zero emission capable (ZEC) have been licensed, making the capital the fastest city in the UK to adapt to the new technology. However, the cost of the LEVC TX taxi has risen sharply recently due mainly to inflation and high interest rates for required finance.

There was also an argument that the black cab's unique turning circle, synonymous with the capital’s iconic taxi, is regarded by some drivers as too expensive and restricts further vehicle options.

Davis suggested that turning requirements put in place by TfL are pushing up vehicle prices by as much as £10,000 and putting off current and potential new drivers from working in the trade.

Davis said in the letter published in The Badge: “You say that TfL, as the licensing authority and regulator, “is not able to influence finance or market conditions...” But surely you recognise that your policies on vehicle specification do have a direct and major impact on price, finance and market conditions?

“For example the higher specification resulting from the turning circle/rear wheel steer on the Vito Taxi increased the price of the Vito by over £10,000. In this way your higher specification requirements result in higher prices which is now reducing driver numbers.”

Davis added: “A lack of competition and supply is having an enormous impact on the second hand taxi market.

“You will have noticed the residual values of second-hand TXe’s doubling. I have seen adverts for £40,000 for a 5-year old second hand TXe. This is great for some, but it will make the rental prices of second hand taxis, for a large number of drivers of older cabs, impossible to afford. Surely you can see this has a negative impact on the delicate balance of the taxi market?”


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