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STREET-WISE TAXI: LTDA Exec runs through the current most asked taxi trade questions

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

I am frequently asked for my views and opinions regarding what’s going on in the trade – it’s not always possible to give an exact answer, I don’t possess a crystal ball, nobody does, but based on experience and contact knowledge, here are some of the questions most often asked...

How busy is it?

Extremely busy. Work levels are on the up and drivers are reporting that it’s one ride hailing hand going up after another, they cannot cover the number of jobs being offered on the App Platforms despite incentives being offered (GETT). I heard that at one event there were people waiting for taxis for up to an hour and in the end just gave up. The busiest periods being weekends and nights. I am sure many of you would rather take a job from the street keeping the full 100% paid fare as opposed

to paying out 20% of the metered fare to the Apps.

This is brilliant news after the last 18 months as I know that drivers have faced huge financial worries, some of them even having to give their cabs back. It hasn’t been this good in years, I am happy to report that drivers are now able to earn a decent living again. London is alive, the streets at night are buzzing with events like the Anthony Joshua fight, Shine Cancer Walk, DrumSheds, Tobacco Dock and many more. This is great news for the trade but as you know we can only do one job at a time which is causing a huge demand for taxis. I can only imagine the usual culprits were surge pricing.

Should I buy a cab, rent a cab or lease a new LEVC cab?

I have been asked, “should I buy a late 2014 TX4 Euro 5?” Well, that depends on how you work. If you are part time, say two or three days a week, then this may be a more viable option and suit the way you work. There is still a good possibility that TfL will approve the Euro 6 conversion and that would give an extra three years to the life of a taxi on the current 12-year age limit rule. Let’s face it, the age limit should never have been reduced in the first place, especially with the current financial climate due to the pandemic. Many drivers have been forced into early retirement because of the price of a new taxi, the Mayor of London should have reconsidered the situation and extended the current age limit.

If the conversion were to be approved, the LTDA would lobby hard on behalf of the trade to TfL, the Mayor and Government Officials for a full grant to those drivers who are willing to have the retrofit system installed – just like they did with the De-licensing Scheme and for purchasing a TXe. This would then allow drivers to save enough money to enable them to afford to make the transition to an electric taxi, thereby providing a sensible solution.

Will there be a shortage of cabs to rent?

In the past two years, many drivers have de-commissioned their taxis for between £9,000- £10,000, either because they were due to retire or simply taking it as the best option to rent a cab until there was a better choice of EV taxis coming onto the market that could do more than 200-300 miles on a single charge.

As of September 2021, the number of Licenced London taxi drivers is 20,881 and the number of vehicle licences issued were 13,962, of which 4,549 are ZEC taxis. I do know that there are still a number of drivers that have decided not to re-licence their vehicles due to financial reasons brought on by the pandemic. So yes, in my opinion there will be a shortage of cabs to rent if, and when, the remaining drivers decide to return.

What is the latest update on the Euro 5-6 conversion?

With many drivers still hanging on waiting for an answer whether TFL will approve the Euro 5 diesel cabs to Euro 6 Conversion, we asked TfL for an update.

Late last year discussions took place between TfL and HJS about some modifications to the system and design changes proposed by HJS. During the meeting, dates for emission testing were discussed and were hopefully going to take place at Millbrook testing centre in late 2020. However, ultimately HJS decided that driving the taxi from Germany to London was not feasible during the pandemic. Therefore, it will not be able to progress this aspect of the project until such a time that it is safe to bring the vehicle to England to undergo emissions testing. TfL have also requested some further technical information from HJS to enable assessment of the proposed design changes to the emissions reduction system. Hopefully we should have the answer in the coming months

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