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Mayor of London urged to ‘do the right thing’ by EXTENDING taxi age limits following pandemic impact

The Mayor of London is being urged to ‘do the right thing’ and extend the age limit of licensed taxis by a year to help Londoners travel safely and allow qualified licensed taxi drivers to work.

Since coronavirus pandemic restrictions eased in September, demand for black cabs has sky rocketed quickly. However, since the pandemic started the capital’s taxi fleet has plummeted by 25% to around 14,000 available vehicles. In April 2020 there were 18,504 black cabs licensed by London’s regulator.

A current shortage of taxis is being squeezed further by new age limit regulations brought in by Transport for London (TfL). Older black cabs in the capital can now only be licensed for a total of twelve years instead of fifteen. It is estimated that the fleet will lose another 1,500 vehicles based on the age of vehicles over the next 12 months.

For the lucky taxi drivers in London that can source a licensed taxi they are now experiencing a work-level boom. The taxi industry is now desperately trying to cover the increased demand the best they can to keep the public safe.

Paul Brennan, LTDA Chairman, said in TAXI Magazine: “It is clear to just about everyone that lives or works in London that there is currently already a real shortage of available taxis.

“This is obviously also the case for the many qualified drivers that require access to a cab as well. However, this is not something that has come out of the blue or suddenly reared its ugly head – we’ve all been acutely aware that this would be a problem, and despite calls from the trade, the Mayor seems unwilling to revisit the premature scrapping of taxis that have reached an artificially-set age limit of his choosing. An age limit by the way, that was set pre-pandemic and so in a completely different world to the one we currently inhabit.

“The deafening silence from Mayor Khan’s office is very concerning, especially as this is coming from a Labour Mayor and yet he seems willing to just sit back and watch good working-class men and women struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent or mortgage on the roofs above their heads. This threat is not because of the pandemic or because Government wants to save money, or a greedy corporation wants to increase profits at the expense of hard- working folk. This is due to a target being set in the past and although circumstances have changed, and the original target having been reached, there is no change in his stance. Rather than a motto of ‘Adapt & Overcome’ he appears to ‘Dig Hole, Insert Head & Cover’.

“All that is required is a simple extension to the life of a small percentage of taxis. This could make all the difference to those men and women who want to work, have earned the right to work but due to circumstances way beyond their control can neither afford to buy a new cab or find one to rent.

“They of course are not the only losers. Londoners and visitors to this city, many of whom will be vulnerable are having to wait far too long to get a taxi or pay exorbitant surge fares to private hire. It is the Mayors responsibility as head of TfL to make sure that is not the case. So, Mayor Khan, extract your head, see the problem and do the right thing.”


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