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TAXI AND MINICAB SHORTAGES: Mayor of London blames Brexit, pandemic and drivers taking on new roles

Updated: Dec 27, 2021



The Mayor of London is aware demand for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) services IS exceeding the supply in the capital after concerns over safety were raised.


Prior to the latest rise in coronavirus cases, which prompted the Government to again call on the public to work from home, demand for taxicabs and services like Uber peaked.

Driven by a mixture of a lack black cab vehicles in the taxi sector and a lack of drivers in the PHV sector, Londoners have endured longer waiting times to find a vehicle to transport them.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, blamed a number of factors impacting the availability of drivers, including Brexit, the pandemic, and drivers undertaking other roles.


In the case of London’s largest PHV operator, Uber, the shortage of drivers has pushed up prices and caused cancelled journeys to spiral at peak-times.


London Assembly Member, Caroline Pidgeon, asked the Mayor of London what work was being undertaking to assess the prevalence and impact of cancelled fares by app-based private hire services in London and the potential safety risk this poses to Londoners using these services.

Sadiq Khan responded: “I am aware of reports that the demand for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) services in London exceeds supply. This shortage is despite over 101,000 PHV drivers and over 20,000 taxi drivers being licensed in London.


“Transport for London (TfL) informs me that licence renewal rates remain high and that it is processing significant numbers of applications for new PHV driver licences.

“TfL’s weekly data from licensed PHV operators shows that around 50 per cent of PHV drivers are regularly working, compared to over 70 per cent pre-pandemic. TfL is engaging with taxi and PHV stakeholders and large PHV operators and taxi app-based companies to better understand this complex issue.


“There are a number of factors impacting the availability of drivers, including Brexit, the pandemic, and drivers undertaking other roles. TfL will also shortly be undertaking a survey with taxi and PHV drivers to better understand any changes to their work patterns to get a better picture of the situation.

“To ensure passenger safety, TfL’s Safer Travel at Night messaging encourages passengers to plan ahead. As part of this activity, TfL’s Operational Officers and its policing partners are also out across the network to engage with passengers to inform them of other travel options, such as TfL’s extensive night bus services, the reintroduction of Night Tube on the Central and Victoria lines, the reopening of the Night London Overground between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate and the location of taxi ranks.”

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