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OUT OF BOUNDS: Electric taxis queue for charge points whilst FIFTY charge-point hub remains unused

A taxi association leader reveals electric charging ‘scandal’, as centrally located charging hub containing FIFTY chargers remains unused during the peak time demand.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) uncovered the hub of chargers located at a bus garage on The Cut near Waterloo. The bus garage is only 150 yards from Transport for London’s (TfL) headquarters on Blackfriars Road.

On the road running parallel to the unused chargers, taxi drivers driving electric taxis are forced to QUEUE for access to charge points on Southwark Street during the daytime.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, wrote in the TAXI newspaper: “There are a network of charging hubs that are standing idle for large periods of the day while only a few hundred yards away, cabbies join long lines at the few accessible, and even fewer working charging points!

“So where are these hubs? Hidden away in bus garages, many in central locations, and while the buses are on the roads, they stand empty and unused!

“The government, the Mayor, and most of the boroughs have declared a climate emergency and emergencies require urgent action, so this scandal of unused much-needed infrastructure must not be allowed to continue.

“The bus companies have all sorts of reasons as to why cabbies cannot access their facilities, such as health and safety, difficulties in how to recover costs, and a plethora of excuses that fall far short of any type of justification for letting this scandal continue.”

McNamara also raised the issue at a recent event held at the Palace of Westminster last week.

A panel of leading figures from across the taxi and electric vehicle industry met to discuss the future of zero emission capable (ZEC) taxis, and how the Government should best support the industry’s progress in adopting ZEC taxi technology.

The panel, which included representatives from LEVC, Free Now, TfL and Charge Point, discussed whether there was a need for a better rapid charging infrastructure and explored the merits of the 3,000 plus electric taxis currently plying their trade in the capital.

McNamara told the room: “It seems madness to us that we can’t do some sort of deal. Seeing that we’re run by TfL and the buses are run by TfL, why we can’t come up with some sort of plan where we can utilise these chargers for the twelve hours of the days when they are not needed.

“There’s 50 chargers within 150 yards of TfL’s headquarters that are standing empty so perhaps Lucy (TfL representative) could look at that one?”

Lucy Hayward-Speight, Transport Strategy and Planning Manager at TfL, responded saying: “Maybe there are these opportunities that rapid charging around those bus garages so we are definitely already looking into that.”

Earlier during the discussions, Hayward-Speight revealed that charge point usage within the taxi industry has “more or less doubled”.

Image credit (map): Google Maps


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