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Temporary blip in London taxi fleet numbers blamed on age limit changes and mistakes by cab owners

A taxi fleet expert shed light on the dramatic drop in cab numbers witnessed in the month of October and suggested the trade shouldn’t panic just yet.

According to the expert, the decline can be attributed to two primary factors. Firstly, it stems from the high sales figures recorded 12 and 13 years ago, which flooded the market with cabs that are now approaching their age limits. Secondly, cabs impacted by the age limit changes expedited their NSL plate renewal dates to maximise the full 12-year period.

Surprisingly, it was also revealed that some cab owners made errors in calculating the correct date for their cab's last plate. It remains imperative for owners of older cabs to ensure they schedule their NSL appointment before their cab's 11th birthday, guaranteeing them an additional year on the roads. Failure to do so could result in their cab being deemed unfit for service.

The expert fleet columnist in TAXI Newspaper said: “Last month, saw the biggest drop in cab numbers, ever! However, before the doom and gloom brigade start talking about how the ‘end is nigh’ and rushing to Knowledge schools to tell them ‘The game is dead’, there is a reason for this dramatic looking decrease.

“It’s a combination of high sales numbers 12 and 13 years ago, coupled with a double year of cabs impacted by the age limit changes, as a lot of owners had brought forward their NSL plate date to gain the full 12 years.

I understand that there were also more than a few who simply made a mistake and did not correctly calculate the date their cab could get its last plate. It’s absolutely critical that anyone with an older cab checks when their cab is coming off the road, works backwards and gets it passed at NSL before its 11th birthday to ensure they get a full year.

“The DVLA V5 for the cab shows the date of first registration and its this date that you plan from, not the existing plate expiration. Using this date, book the cab into NSL a week or ten days before, and as long as the cab is plated before its 11th birthday you get a full year. I have met cabbies who forgot this and tried to book an NSL appointment a few days after the cabs turned 11 only to be told it was too late and the cab was finished in London! Don’t let that happen to you, check the V5!

“As a result of the changes over the last month, there are very few cabs anywhere for sale. This means some silly prices are being asked for older cabs. The basic rule of £3k per plate left for cabs nearing the end, has gone out of the window.

“I am convinced this will all settle down after Christmas, so my advice to anyone looking to buy an older cab is to be careful and not get caught up in this temporary blip. Be realistic and work out exactly how long the cab has left, factor in the cost of maintaining it, will it need a gearbox or diff, what is the bodywork like etc.

"With some of the prices I have seen recently, it may be wiser to give the older ones a swerve and look at paying a bit more for a newer cab with a longer life and less maintenance.”


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