A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by the London Club Driver’s Club (LCDC) revealed that approximately 1,400 imported vehicles were licensed as private hire vehicles (PHVs) in the capital in just a TWO month period.
LCDC Chairman, Grant Davis, submitted the question to Transport for London’s FOI request department asking how many petrol and diesel vehicles were imported into the UK from abroad and licensed in November and December before the January 2023 cut off.
Graham Hunt, TfL FOI Case Officer, responded: “We do not specifically record on our licensing system if a vehicle has been imported into the UK from abroad.
“However, based on Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) we have identified that approximately 1,400 private hire vehicles that were new to licensing between 1 November and 31 December 2022 were likely to be imported vehicles.”
In the lead up to Christmas 2022 the capital’s regulator were forced to automatically extend taxi and minicab vehicle licences by FOUR MONTHS due to a high surge in vehicle testing appointments.
Due to unprecedented demand for testing, NSL centres fell rapidly behind. To prevent further delays which were negatively impacting drivers, TfL decided to extend the licensing period by four months if drivers undergo an MOT inspection before the expiry date of the licence.
A LCDC spokesperson wrote in The Badge: “As the cab trade knows only too well, since 2018 and the introduction of the ZEC taxi, we have had to sacrifice perfectly good, reliable Euro 6 taxis at this Mayor’s altar of emissions.
“In fact, worse still, TFL went even further in decimating taxi vehicle numbers by scrapping three years from the 15 year age limit (in the name of cleaner air).”
The spokesperson added: “I received a call from someone on the PHV side of the fence informing me that in the rush to licence petrol and diesel PHVs, garages and individuals were importing cars from abroad.
“I subsequently submitted an FOI request and the proof as they say is in the pudding.
“Taxi drivers who could not get an appointment at NSL In the run up to Christmas can rest assured that their spots were being taken up by petrol and diesel PHV owners - all of them making a mad dash to get licensed.”