Updated: Oct 31, 2021
City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) must extend the life of black cab vehicles soon to be forced off the road by an extra year to help ‘fearful’ lone women get home.
A current shortage of taxis is being squeezed further by new age limit regulations brought in by 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 the age of vehicles over the next 12 months.
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 remaining taxi drivers in London are now experiencing a work-level boom which has left the industry desperately trying to cover the increased demand.
According to London’s biggest taxi fleet rental, Colts Cabs, the firm reported card payment transactions hitting its highest figure since the COVID pandemic forced restrictions in March 2020. More than 40,000 transactions were recorded on Thursday 9 September. In comparison, a daily number of card transactions in June 2020 fell below 3,000 payments.
Reported shortages, high prices and poor availability of private hire services have also pushed demand on to the licensed taxi trade and the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) have now called of the Mayor of London and TfL to act now to help protect lone women trying to get home safely.
Paul Brennan, LTDA Chairman, said in TAXI Newspaper: “If City Hall and TfL do one thing in the coming weeks, it needs to be that they extend the life of the cabs that they are forcing off the road.
“Perfectly good cabs that have been well looked after do not need to be sent early to the scrap heap. They deserve at least one extra year to make sure we have enough cabs on the road for the drivers that serve the capital and so the people of London can hail a cab at all times and not be ripped off by yet another price surge.
“Our fleet is now 25% smaller and that is a figure that was never factored in to the grand scheme and equates to a massive reduction in our emissions alone. Allowing this additional period will bring more positives to Londoner’s who according to social media are having real issues getting home safely – this is especially worrying for lone women, who are extra fearful due to recent appaling events.”