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Mayor of London open to ‘new vision’ for the black taxi trade as vehicle cost concerns mount

Updated: Dec 22, 2023



The future of London's iconic black taxi industry was at the forefront of discussions during today's Mayor’s Question Time at the London Assembly.


Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and Transport Spokesperson, called on Mayor Sadiq Khan to urgently revise the outdated 2016 Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan to ensure the industry's viability.

Pidgeon highlighted the need for greater support in transitioning the taxi fleet to zero-emission vehicles.


Despite half of the black taxis now being zero-emission capable, the prohibitive costs of these environmentally friendly models, which stand at over £70,000, were brought to the Mayor's attention. When factoring in the staggering 9% interest rate on finance, the real cost balloons to nearly £100,000. This financial burden is set to intensify as the “plug-in vehicle grant” from the Government, currently offering £7,500 towards new taxis, is due to end next year.


The financial strain doesn't stop at the vehicle purchase price either. Taxi drivers who have transitioned to electric vehicles face the added pressure of rising energy costs. According to the RAC's Charge Watch, those relying on public rapid and ultra-rapid charging points have seen a 50% increase in prices over the past year.

Responding to Pidgeon's concerns, Mayor Khan acknowledged the challenges facing the black taxi industry. He expressed his commitment to developing a 'new vision' for its future and exploring ways to reduce the costs associated with vehicle replacement. The Mayor also showed openness to Pidgeon’s suggestion of organising a round-table discussion with industry representatives.


This call for action comes at a critical juncture for London's black taxi industry, which is grappling with the dual challenges of economic sustainability and environmental responsibility. The Mayor's response and subsequent actions could significantly shape the future of a London transport icon.


Caroline Pidgeon AM said: “It is vital that the Black Taxi industry in London has a clear path to a secure future. With the Mayor’s strategy for the taxi industry dating from 2016, it urgently needs updating to reflect the drastically changed circumstances the capital finds itself in.

 

“Taxi drivers are happy to do their bit and swap to greener vehicles, but for far too many this is becoming unachievable due to soaring costs and Government support due to come to an end.

 

“Given the uncertainty and challenging conditions faced by the industry, I am glad the Mayor has agreed to my calls for a roundtable with the taxi industry, including the various taxi apps, to help shape a new strategy and action plan to help our iconic black taxi service continue to serve London.”

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