Updated: Oct 29
The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) has made an appeal to the Mayor of London and the Transport Minister insisting that taxis must be exempt from any future toll charges at the Blackwall Tunnel.
The proposed fees currently under discussion could reach up to £5.25 for a one-way trip and £10.50 for a return journey.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of LTDA, argues that given their unique role in the transport system, taxis should not be subjected to toll charges, just like they are exempt from the Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Taxis are required to take the shortest route as mandated by regulations, making it unfathomable to charge them for using vital tunnel infrastructure.
McNamara highlighted a potential scenario where a taxi is hired at Canary Wharf to transport a passenger to the O2, involving crossing the Blackwall Tunnel and incurring a toll charge. In this case, the driver would either have to add an additional fee to the fare to cover the toll or decline the job altogether. Even if the passenger offered to pay the toll, the taxi driver would still be responsible for paying the toll again on the return journey, effectively erasing any earnings made on the trip. McNamara argues that this situation would inevitably lead to numerous refusals from taxi drivers.
While no official decision has been reached regarding the imposition of toll charges at the Blackwall Tunnel, McNamara has taken preemptive action by writing to both Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport Minister Mark Harper.
The Mayor's Office and the Transport Department have yet to respond to the LTDA's call for exemption. The outcome will be closely monitored by the taxi community and the public alike, as it will impact both travel options in London and the economic viability of taxi drivers.
McNamara said in TAXI Newspaper: “It goes without saying that taxis would expect the taxi trade to be exempt from any such tolls, in the same way we are exempted from the Congestion Charge and the ULEZ, because we are compellable and must take the shortest route."
He added: “Nothing has officially been decided yet, but in order to ensure that common sense prevails, and we are exempted from any toll, I have written to both the Mayor and Mark Harper.”