Taxi finance firm Ethos say they are EXCITED to help taxi drivers and fleet owners bounce back from a ‘challenging’ pandemic period and help solve the industry’s cab vehicle shortage.
A shortage of taxi vehicles, especially in London, has left the industry playing catch up after the purchasing of new cabs was put on hold whilst work levels plummeted during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
In London there are currently just around 14,000 taxis licensed, of which roughly a third are electric taxis. That number has dropped massively since the start of the pandemic when it stood at 18,504 vehicles in April 2020.
Recovery was hampered by the industry’s buying power and ability to find finance, however according to respected taxi finance brokers, Ethos Finance, the mood within the banking industry has now changed.
A spokesperson from Ethos Finance said: “Although funding during the pandemic was initially challenging, based on the strength of the business and the overall future potential (and subject to credit approval) lenders understand the difficulties which the industry has faced.
“We have a large cross-section of lenders we work with which has helped source financial agreements for our clients. Also, being so close to the industry has allowed us to help lenders understand the current difficulties within the sector.”
A lack of taxi driven revenue put many banks off lending during the period, however confidence has now returned. Ethos are however keen to learn more about individual driver and fleet circumstances to provide them not only with access to finance, but also access to competitive finance rates.
An Ethos spokesperson said: “It is difficult to give an indication of rates due to our multiple panels of lenders and each client having their own unique circumstances.
“One thing we know separates us is our level of service and understanding. The time we take to get to our know clients allows us to build a strong case for the underwriting process and application submission, giving them a greater chance to get better rates and an agreement that works for them. This work means it widens the scope for fleets and new start businesses to obtain businesses in that market.”
A Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) spokesperson said on the topic of finance: “The reducing age limit (we are now down to 13 years), isn’t helping but the big problem is still the lack of money coming from finance companies and banks to allow mushers and fleets to buy much needed cabs.
“It’s getting better but money is coming through very slowly and some drivers are still getting refused because of their recent pandemic financial history, and reduced credit scores.”
An Ethos Finance spokesperson added: “Now is a perfect time to consider switching your fleet over to electric. With ULEZ expanding and the range of government incentives, moving to electric makes business sense.
“Putting EVs through businesses allows them to save on vehicle exercise duty, pay 1% Benefit-in-Kind tax for this year and take advantage of claiming 100% of their first-year allowances on the full cost of the vehicle.”