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‘No taxi drivers have been forced to scrap their vehicles’ says London Mayor as fleet shrinks

Image credit: LEVC

‘No taxi drivers have been forced to scrap their vehicles’ says the Mayor of London as the iconic black taxi fleet continues to alarmingly shrink throughout the pandemic.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, went on to claim that there was ‘an air quality crisis in London and taxis are some of the most polluting vehicles on the roads’. The Mayor stated that this crisis was ‘ever starker’ due to the coronavirus respiratory pandemic.

Currently in the capital there are 14,309 taxi vehicles, of which 3,937 are electric Zero-Emission Capable (ZEC) taxis.

According to Transport for London (TfL) records, in April 2015 there were 22,500 taxis registered in Greater London. Since then there has been a rapid decline in the number of taxis available to cabbies.

London’s licensed taxi industry has invested heavily in nearly 4,000 ZEC vehicles to clean up the capital’s poor air quality. Transport regular TfL has part-funded the Government-led plug-in vehicle grant which offers cabbies a £7,500 grant to switch to a ZEC taxi. TfL has also offered up to £10,000 to taxi drivers and fleet owners to delicense and scrap older licensed taxis from the road.

However due to the higher initial cost of electric vehicles, perceived poor charging networks, continued restrictions placed on taxi road access and now the financial impact caused by coronavirus, some cabbies remain reluctant to invest.

A month ago, London Assembly Member, Keith Prince, asked the Mayor via a monthly written question: “Broken down for each of the last 6 years, how many London Taxi drivers have been forced to scrap their vehicles without any compensation from TfL?”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, responded recently saying:

“No taxi drivers have been forced to scrap their vehicles.
“There is an air quality crisis in London and taxis are some of the most polluting vehicles on the roads. In central London, taxis are responsible for 25 per cent of all transport emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and this has been brought into ever starker relief recently as coronavirus is a respiratory illness.
“Transport for London (TfL) and I have had to take steps to reduce emissions from the taxi fleet, including a Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) licensing requirement and a phased reduction of taxi age limits. However, we have worked collaboratively with the taxi trade and provided a number of support measures to encourage the uptake of cleaner, greener vehicles and incentivise early adoption, including:
- TfL part-funds the government-led plug-in vehicle grant, which gives taxi drivers £7,500 off the purchase price of a new ZEC taxi. With 3,878 ZEC taxis now licensed this equates to more than £29 million
- TfL also provides financial support for the delicensing of older and more polluting taxis, with payments of up to £10,000 for Euro 3, 4 and 5 vehicles. More than £30m has been paid out to individuals and fleet vehicle owners.
- TfL also provides free access to rapid charge points for ZEC taxis in 10 car parks in central London. These are part of a network of 75 rapid charging points which are for exclusive use by taxis across London, in addition to the 197 which taxis can also access alongside other electric vehicles.”


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