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TARIFFS AND AGE LIMITS: Get these right and taxi driver recruitment will explode throughout the UK

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The taxi industry continues to stall in attracting new taxi drivers into the trade throughout the UK.

Some councils have tinkered with the licensing fees, dropping them by £50 over a three-year period, and some have reduced previous standards to entice more drivers in. The truth of the matter is that these small changes will not have any effect on potential applicants joining the industry.

There are two main variables that will attract new drivers and they are the tariffs set and the vehicle costs imposed.


If you’re setting up a business in any sector you want to know how you’re going to create revenue. When it comes to a taxi licence, revenue is regulated and set to a maximum limit using a taximeter. If that taximeter hasn’t been amended in the last 12-24 months, it’s more than likely inflation and trading costs have overtaken the going rate and the job isn’t worth considering. Simple as that.

Annual reviews should be implemented across all licensing authorities just like other public transport reviews to keep drivers in the sector and to entice more in.


Any applicant looking to start a career in the taxi industry is going to look at the costs involved in setting up business. The vehicle will always be the biggest expenditure and right now the big numbers involved can put many people off entering the trade.

Now there’s only one purpose-built taxi available to buy. There is no option to lower costs by purchasing a cheaper model. Second-hand taxi prices are also peaking due to demand for vehicles.

The cost of a taxi isn’t going to drop. Inflation and high interest on finance has seen the price of a taxi escalate to well over £90,000 and sometimes knocks on the door of £100,000 depending on the size of the deposit.

The cost of a taxi is more than likely to rise again as inflation continues. There’s even the looming threat of the Plug-in Taxi Grant (PiTG), worth £7,500 to cabbies and fleet owners buying a purpose-built electric taxi, ending in April 2024.

However not all is lost if licensing authorities EXTEND the lifetime of greener taxis.

Using London as an example, the LEVC TX can only work in the capital for a total of 15 years. A cabbie registering a new taxi would therefore see the investment made on a taxi over those 15 years valued at around £6,500 each year.

If the limit was increased to 20 years that would drop significantly by £1,500 each year of licensing. An applicant making a long-term career decision would save £30,000 over the course of 20 years. That would be much more appealing than the £50 saved on licensing fees over a three-year period.

Obviously if age restrictions were to be increased, the standards must be maintained. More regulator checks for older taxis could and should be an option. However, there is no reason why modern-day taxis cannot meet future required standards set.


Zero-emission capable taxis are here. You cannot get greener than zero. The only shift in regulation that might come is that all taxis will be required to become fully electric or zero-emissions at some point.

That shouldn’t however be the argument to impose age limits. Retrofits are seeing diesel TX4s become fully electric, and technology will surely advance to allow the current LEVC TX and other plug-ins to retrofit to fully electric when required.

Extending the age limits on greener taxis will also help the environment. A green taxi is never greener than when its transporting communities around on zero- emission capability. However, before they are licensed that is certainly not the case.

The manufacturing of electric car batteries and the vehicles themselves are high. Scrapping a perfectly good vehicle that meets all the required standards after 15-years to churn out a new one at a high cost to the environment cannot be the right message for authorities looking at carbon neutrality?

The taxi age limit holds the key to the future of the UK taxi industry.


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