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Taxi reps call for ‘more money to the table’ should Mayor of London expect more investment in greener black cabs

Image credit: LEVC

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) have called for greater financial support should the Mayor of London want to continue the taxi trade's green transition

Steve McNamara, General Secretary LTDA, voiced concerns over the future progress of the taxi industry's transformation towards greener practices, highlighting the financial burdens forced on drivers wishing to remain in the industry.

In comments reflecting engagements with Transport for London (TfL) and City Hall, McNamara shed light on the discussions surrounding the future vision for the trade, set for unveiling.

The last action plan, issued way back in 2016, was critiqued for its lofty promises but scant delivery. Recent consultations aimed at drafting a new strategy have brought to the forefront the pressing agenda of environmental sustainability within the taxi sector. However, McNamara’s recount of a recent meeting highlights a palpable disconnect between regulatory ambitions and the practical realities faced by taxi owners.

Key issues raised by McNamara include taxi access, vehicle costs, and regulatory policies impacting the trade. Contrastingly, the focus from TfL and City Hall gravitated towards emissions reduction and aligning with broader environmental targets like Net 30 and net zero objectives.

Despite the LTDA's acknowledgment of the importance of air quality improvements, the Association is now pushing back against the disproportionate financial strain placed on taxi drivers. The taxi fleet's substantial investment, exceeding £500 million into new, environmentally friendly vehicles—with nearly 60% now classified as 'green' and Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) —has been highlighted as a testament to the industry's commitment to change. This transition, however, has been accomplished with minimal financial assistance.

McNamara’s remarks point towards a call to action for TfL and City Hall to recognise the economic challenges of greener transitions and to significantly increase financial support for the taxi sector.

McNamara said in TAXI Magazine: “The last Mayor’s Action Plan for taxis and private hire was published in 2016. It promised a lot, but in reality delivered very little. TfL and City Hall are currently meeting and consulting with all and sundry, allegedly to help them prepare a new action plan or vision for the trade for 2024.

“I had the pleasure of attending on one of these meetings last week. As you would expect, I wanted to talk about taxi access, the price of the cab, 20mph limits, TfL’s 6 point and out policy and a dozen other topics. They wanted to talk about how taxis could be greener, Net 30 and net zero. The meeting started badly, the middle wasn’t great, and the less said about the end the better.

“Like most of you, I welcome the Mayor’s objectives to clean up the air, what I object to is the considerable cost of it all falling onto the shoulders of cabbies. We, individual drivers, small fleets and businesses have invested over £500 million into new cabs, nearly 60% of our fleet is now green, all done with little, if any financial support. I was happy to tell them that if they want us to do more, we can and will, but they need to bring a lot more money to the table.”


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