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TAXI COSTS: LTDA warns ‘more support is still needed’ as vehicle expenses burden cabbies

Updated: Mar 4



The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) has warned ‘more support is still needed’ to offset the rising costs of running electric wheelchair accessible black cabs in the capital.


London's iconic black cab drivers continue to negotiate stressful financial hurdles to stay working after stringent taxi age limits were introduced by the Mayor of London in 2019. These have led to a dramatic decline in the number of taxis operating on the city's roads. The push towards zero emission vehicles, while environmentally commendable, comes with a steep price tag that many drivers find prohibitive.

The cost of acquiring a new, eco-friendly taxi can reach a staggering £100,000, a sum that places immense financial strain on drivers, many of whom struggle to balance the high monthly payments with the need to earn a living. The LTDA has highlighted the critical role of the Plug-in Taxi Grant, the sole significant incentive aiding drivers to transition to greener alternatives. This grant, vital for mitigating the financial burden on drivers, has been confirmed to extend beyond its March 2024 cut-off, albeit at a reduced rate of £6,000, down from £7,500.


This extension comes as a relief to the taxi community, which had feared being left without support. However, the LTDA insists that further assistance is necessary, particularly concerning VAT and other expenses that continue to climb, from vehicle costs to fuel and energy prices.

The call for more comprehensive support is not just about financial aid but about ensuring the sustainability of London's taxi industry to meet environmental standards set. As London moves towards a greener future, the plight of its taxi drivers should serve as a reminder of the need for balanced policies that support both ecological goals and the livelihoods of those on the front lines of this transition.


A Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) spokesperson said via TAXI Magazine: “Since the Mayor of London imposed stringent taxi age limits in 2019, we have seen a significant and ongoing reduction in the number of taxis on London’s roads. Whilst sales of new, zero emission taxis are strong for many drivers the cost of the new vehicle is prohibitive. Drivers face a significant financial investment, with the cost of acquisition hovering around £100,000, depending on the chosen financing option, such as hire purchase. Those who manage to make it work can find themselves under significant pressure to keep up with monthly payments and earn a decent living.


“It's vital that policy and decision makers recognise the financial burden imposed on drivers by the transition to more sustainable, zero-emission vehicles. The trade can not be expected to do all the heavy lifting alone. Central to this support is Plug-in Taxi Grant, which serves as a key (and only real) incentive for drivers opting to invest in environmentally friendly cabs, helping drivers to meet the cost of the new vehicle.


“The LTDA have been lobbying to ensure the grant remained in place beyond March 2024 for several years and specifically over the last six months when it has been under review in advance of the cut off date on 5th April. Thankfully, this has resulted in the grant being extended for another year. Whilst this is at a reduced rate of £6,000 instead of £7500, the reduction shouldn’t impact financing and payments dramatically and still gives drivers some support, when until very recently it looked like we could be left with nothing. The Government has at least recognised the fantastic work being done by London licensed taxi drivers and their contribution to cleaning up London’s air and going green.


“More support is still needed, and we continue pushing on issues like VAT to help drivers offset the rising cost of everything from the vehicle to fuel and energy and looking at other ways to save drivers money.”

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