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SHORTAGES: Average number of taxis and minicabs entering central London DROPS by over 40%

The average number of black taxis and minicabs entering the capital’s central London areas has dropped by over 40% this summer according to FOI data.

In mid-August 2021 only 5,628 black cabs were registered entering London’s Congestion Charge (CC) zone on an average daily bases. Compared with available data taken from April 2018 the average number of taxis stood at 9,710; a drop of 42%.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the capital’s taxi fleet has plummeted by 25% to around 14,000 available vehicles. In April 2020 there were 18,504 black cabs licensed by London’s regulator.

The current shortage of taxis is being squeezed further by new age limit regulations brought in by Transport for London (TfL). Older black cabs in the capital can now only be licensed for a total of twelve years instead of fifteen. It is estimated that the fleet will lose another 1,500 vehicles based on the age of vehicles over the next 12 months.

It was a similar story for licensed Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs). The number of PHVs registered entering London’s Congestion Charge zone in mid-August 2021 was 43% lower than that recorded in April 2018.

In April 2018 the daily average number of PHVs entering central London stood at 17,271, however post-pandemic that number has dropped to just 10,121.

PHVs must pay the daily £15 Congestion Charge zone fee if they drive within the charging zone between 7am-10pm, every day, except Christmas Day.

Driver shortages in the PHV sector has driven availability and coverage of services offered by minicab operators down. PHV drivers left the industry during the pandemic to pursue different careers in similar paid logistic and delivery jobs.

Operators in the capital are furiously trying to recruit drivers back into the sector to meet the unmet demand. Addison Lee is looking to add 1,000 new drivers to its platform and ride-hailing firms Uber and Bolt are also trying to heavily recruit.


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