TfL and Khan will “continue to do what we can to help London’s taxi and private hire trades recover”
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
“TfL and I will continue to do what we can to help London’s taxi and private hire trades recover during these difficult times,” says the Mayor of London.
The statement comes in response to a question put to the Mayor on the topic of unsustainably low work levels facing the taxi industry due to the effects of COVID-19.
With financial support for much of the self-employed taxi industry coming from Government SEISS grants, which now equates to only 20% of historical profits recorded, some drivers are struggling to cover the high costs of running a taxi in the capital.
The Mayor of London and TfL have also come in for criticism from the trade over the implementation of Bishopsgate Bus Gates and its ‘Streetspace’ plans during the pandemic.
The new traffic restrictions on Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street in the City of London are in operation on weekdays between 7am and 7pm and only allow access through the gates to buses and cyclists.
Last week the taxi industry were granted permission to Judicially Review both the Bishopsgate and ‘Streetspace’ road restrictions after legal papers were submitted to the High Court.
As part of September’s Mayor’s Question Time session, Caroline Russell AM, submitted a written question to the Mayor of London asking: “London is now a much quieter place, with fewer workers in the daytime, fewer revellers in the night-time, and fewer tourists visiting the city. This has reduced the demand for taxi journeys to an unprecedentedly low level. What plans do you have to support the future viability of the taxi trade in London as demand changes?”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, replied: “Transport for London (TfL) and I recognise the difficulties faced by both taxi and private hire drivers, alongside many other professions across London and the UK at this time. London taxis are iconic and remain an integral part of the transport network for Londoners, visitors and businesses.
“TfL has been working to understand the impact of the crisis on the taxi and private hire industries, and has put in place measures to help them wherever possible. TfL has published a number of TPH Notices containing practical advice and details of the support available to all licensees. There are frequent conference calls with the industries to ensure that they are provided with up to date information. These are also an opportunity to understand industry-wide concerns.
“During this period, TfL’s priority has been to maintain its licensing function and has continued to support the industry by making pragmatic changes to its licensing service arrangements.
“For example, TfL continued to licence vehicles that were due to expire between 23 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 (inclusive) as a result of the exceptional circumstances that required them to temporarily close its vehicle licensing inspection centres. TfL also offered owners of older vehicles the opportunity to obtain a final licence for their vehicle if, in normal circumstances, they would have sought to do so in the period 23 March to 30 June.
“TfL and I will continue to do what we can to help London’s taxi and private hire trades recover during these difficult times.”