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RISE AND FALL: The number of London taxi drivers CONTINUES to drop despite boom in business



The number of taxi driver licences held in London continues to drop despite the recent boom in business post pandemic lockdown.


According to Transport for London (TfL) data there are now 19,356 taxi drivers in the capital. Of those 17,214 hold All London licences.

At the start of the pandemic the number of drivers registered in April 2020 stood at 22,337. All London Green badge holders have dropped by over 2,000 licensees.


A big shake up in driver recruitment is now expected as an ongoing review into modernising the Knowledge of London is thought to be revealed soon.


Sam Houston, LTDA Senior Rep, said in TAXI Newspaper: “The latest figures I’ve seen show driver numbers continuing to fall at around 6% per year, which of course is a big worry. Driver numbers is just one way of measuring the success of our business.

“I’ve always looked at it in a traditional ‘turnover’ sense, (i.e., the collective amount of money we all make per year) and there’s a possibility that the individual drivers currently working are turning over more now than before the pandemic. However, the figures don’t lie and there need to be a lot more candidates on the Knowledge to replenish the ‘ranks’ (see what I did there) of regularly working cabbies.


“There’s no perfect number of drivers to aim for, as there are a lot of unknowns and external factors that affect the level of business. For example, we never know how many drivers are part- time or full-time, and no-one can predict economic events that impact in mass upon driver activity like pandemics, wars or recessions.


“A business like ours that is an on-demand service can experience wide variance in demand, so that it can seem quiet for a while with plenty of yellow lights and then suddenly everyone wants to move at the same time and there aren’t enough empties.


“Economy wise, the outlook is still uncertain at best, so the last thing you want is to flood the streets, but there are so few candidates on the Knowledge right now, that those licensee figures are only heading in one direction, and that’s further down unfortunately.”

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