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NEW VISION: What will the London taxi trade look for in the Mayor’s new cab strategy?

The future of London's iconic black taxi industry was a key topic at this week's Mayor's Question Time at the London Assembly. Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat Assembly Member and Transport Spokesperson, urged Mayor Sadiq Khan to update the 2016 Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan to ensure the industry's survival.

Mayor Khan responded positively, recognising the industry's challenges and committing to a 'new vision' and a potential round-table discussion with industry representatives. But what does this 'new vision' entail from the industry's perspective?

Key elements of a proposed 'New Vision' for the black taxi trade might include:

1. Access to All Roads: The industry highlights the adverse impact of closed and restricted roads, resulting in increased wait times and fares, and reduced service in some areas.

2. Maintaining Two-Tier System: It's essential to preserve the distinct roles of taxis and private hire vehicles, each serving unique needs within the transport ecosystem.

3. Financial Support for Black Cab Vehicle: With the Plug in Taxi Grant (PiTG) ending in Spring 2024, the cost of the sole black cab model, the LEVC TX, could soar to around £100,000. Industry leaders are advocating for cheaper vehicle options or new financial support.

4. Affordable Charging Points: The recent VAT application and energy price hikes have made public charging points prohibitively expensive, negating the cost benefits of electric vehicles. The industry calls for more affordable charging solutions, especially for drivers without private charging capabilities.

5. Recognition by TfL: Despite significant investment in zero-emission taxis, the industry often feels overlooked in TfL’s transport strategy and seeks acknowledgment as a viable, sustainable transport option.

6. Improved Enforcement: Taxi drivers are calling for more comprehensive enforcement beyond basic checks, targeting issues like illegal minicab operations.

7. Private Hire Vehicle Capping: To reduce congestion and foster a balanced taxi and private hire sector, the industry advocates for a cap on the number of licensed private hire vehicles.

8. Knowledge of London Review and Recruitment: To reverse the decline in driver numbers, the industry would likely propose revamping the testing and advertising system to attract new drivers, ensuring long-term sustainability.

These are just a few components that are likely to be discussed in the New Year to address the immediate challenges and set a foundation for a thriving, sustainable taxi industry in London.


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