The number of available black cab and private hire vehicles has GROWN by over 10% in one month as the sector attempts to stabilise shortages.
In mid-August only 5,628 black cabs were registered entering London’s Congestion Charge (CC) zone on an average daily bases. According to a new Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by TaxiPoint, that number has been boosted by 12% rising to a daily average of 6,296.
Compared with data taken from April 2018 the average number of taxis once stood at 9,710 pre-pandemic; a figure that stands 35% higher when compared to figures taken in September 2021.
Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the capital’s taxi fleet has plummeted by 25% to around 14,000 available vehicles. In April 2020 there were 18,504 black cabs licensed by London’s regulator.
The current shortage of taxis is being squeezed further by new age limit regulations brought in by Transport for London (TfL). Older black cabs in the capital can now only be licensed for a total of twelve years instead of fifteen. It is estimated that the fleet will lose another 1,500 vehicles based on age over the next 12 months.
It is a similar story for licensed Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs). The number of PHVs registered entering London’s Congestion Charge zone in mid-August 2021 was 43% lower than that recorded in April 2018. That number has however been boosted in September with the deficit falling to 35%, the same as black cabs.
In April 2018 the daily average number of PHVs entering central London stood at 17,271. That number now stands at 11,163.
PHVs must pay the daily £15 Congestion Charge zone fee if they drive within the charging zone between 7am-10pm, every day, except Christmas Day.
Driver shortages in the PHV sector has driven availability and coverage of services offered by minicab operators down. PHV drivers left the industry during the pandemic to pursue different careers in similar paid logistic and delivery jobs.
Operators in the capital are furiously trying to recruit drivers back into the sector to meet the demand. Addison Lee is looking to add 1,000 new drivers to its platform and ride-hailing firms Uber and Bolt are also trying to heavily recruit.