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Taxi authorities should give ‘very careful consideration’ over policies that allow just one type of taxi vehicle, says DfT minister

Taxi licensing authorities should give ‘very careful consideration’ to policies that rule out particular types of vehicles or prescribe only one type of black cab, says transport minister.

In a taxi focused parliamentary exchange, Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East, raised an interesting question regarding the licensing of electric black cabs in London. He specifically inquired about any discussions that have occurred between the Secretary of State for Transport and the Mayor of London on the subject.

Responding to Blackman's question, Guy Opperman, Department for Transport (DfT) Minister, revealed that while there have been no direct talks between the Secretary of State and the Mayor regarding electric taxis, significant strides have been made in policy guidance. In November last year, the DfT updated its best practice guidance for all licensing authorities.

This updated guidance encourages the licensing of a wide array of vehicle types and cautions against restrictive policies that favour only specific models or exclude certain vehicles outright.

The current scenario in London's iconic black cab market is that the only new model available for licensing is the LEVC TX, an electric range-extended vehicle. This model represents a shift towards more sustainable urban transport solutions, aligning with broader environmental goals. However, the exclusive availability of a single model poses questions about market diversity and competition.

The updated guidance issued by the Department for Transport aims to broaden the scope of licensed taxi vehicles, ensuring that licensing authorities consider a diverse range of vehicles.

The written Parliamentary question highlights the ongoing efforts and challenges in integrating electric vehicles into the UK's public transport system, particularly the iconic black cab fleet of London. It also highlights the Government's role in facilitating a transition to a more sustainable and inclusive range of transport options for the public.

Guy Opperman, Department for Transport (DfT) Minister, said: “Whilst the Secretary of State for Transport has not had any direct discussion with the Mayor of London on licensing electric taxis, revised best practice guidance was issued to all licensing authorities in November last year recommending they enable as many types of vehicles as possible to be licensed.

“Licensing authorities should give very careful consideration to a policy that automatically rules out particular types of vehicle or prescribes only one type or a small number of types of vehicle.”


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