Updated: Oct 25, 2020
London is in ‘real danger’ of seeing a DROP in new Zero-Emission Capable (ZEC) taxis as ‘predatory’ finance companies get set to start repossessing electric taxis due to the economic effects of COVID-19.
According to taxi industry representatives, the trade and its customers have arrived at a ‘crossroads’ with no extra targeted support currently on the table.
Representatives from the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) have been urging government to step in to help the industry in a number ways. Measures include improving the current Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which currently stands at 20% of eligible claimants' profits and also re-introducing holiday payments on vehicle costs.
Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, said: “We are extremely concerned around the lack of extra funding for the trade as the pandemic, and the Government's mishandling of the crisis, continues.
“Pre-COVID, the taxi industry in London was converting to ZEC vehicles at the rate of 50 vehicles a week and had invested over £200million in cleaning up. We were confidently predicting that by the end of 2024 80% plus of our fleet would have gone green. London would have the best and cleanest taxi service anywhere in the world!
“Fast forward to now and we are in real danger of actually seeing a drop in ZEC taxis as predatory finance companies repossess vehicles.
“We have, and are, lobbying hard for government intervention to extend and improve the current furlough arrangements and to insist that finance companies continue to offer repayment holidays and react sympathetically to drivers experiencing financial difficulties.
“We are at a crossroads and need the right decisions and help to ensure we take the turn towards our survival and return to future profitability.”
Last week TaxiPoint reported that the overall number of taxi vehicle numbers in the capital are continuing to drop at an alarming rate, according to latest data released by Transport for London (TfL).
In the last six week period reported, the number of wheelchair accessible black cabs plummeted by 924 vehicles.