A growing concern has emerged at Heathrow Airport's taxi feeder park, as numerous electric taxis, mostly bearing 2023 registration plates, are experiencing recurring start-up failures.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) highlighted the issue, which is causing disruptions for drivers and contributing to work delays for drivers waiting in London’s biggest taxi rank.
Suzanne Sullivan, spokesperson for the LTDA, acknowledged the problem and expressed empathy towards affected drivers. She outlined a temporary solution that has been discovered by the wardens at the airport. "It appears that walking away from the cab for a few minutes and returning often resolves the starting issue," Sullivan explained.
The wardens at Heathrow have been diligently working to alleviate the situation and accommodate all taxi drivers, but their priority remains ensuring the ranks are efficiently filled.
Sullivan said in TAXI Newspaper: “The wardens have discovered that 23 plate EVs in the taxi feeder park at Heathrow, are regularly failing to start. We don’t know what the cause of this is, but we are finding it to be an increasing problem.
“What we have found is that the way to get the vehicle started is to simply walk away from the cab, return after a few minutes and it normally starts. However, as wardens, you have to understand that if the chute empties and a driver can’t get the cab started, we need to ask other drivers to go around you.
“As much as we empathise – it’s a working rank and by holding up the park, we are stopping other drivers from going to work. We know it can’t be helped and it’s not your fault, but the driver stuck behind you also needs to get to work. As wardens, we do our best to accommodate all, but our top priority is to fill the ranks.
“One driver who couldn’t get his cab started and didn’t complain about the wardens directing cabs around him, told me later that he got it started eventually, and then got a good job all the way to Northampton, so anything can happen…”