Taxis remain an “important mode of transport that provide a key accessible, door-to-door service for Londoners and tourists” says London Mayor, despite ongoing road restrictions being placed on black cabs throughout the capital.
Since 2018 the black taxi industry has invested nearly £200million into 3,500 zero-emission vehicles to clean up the capital’s poor air quality.
Lower work levels and plans to deny further road access in key areas has left the black cab industry frustrated and concerned for their immediate futures.
As part of the Streetspace programme, Transport for London (TfL) announced this week changes to the way traffic is managed on Bishopsgate. These changes include introducing bus and cycle only access from Monday to Friday, between 7am to 7pm.
Keith Prince, Conservative London Assembly Member, asked the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, how he and TfL can influence any decisions regarding ongoing access issues facing the taxi industry throughout the capital. Prince asked: “As taxis are mandated by TfL to transition to being zero-emission capable, and given that about 3,500 taxi drivers have already made that transition, what more can you do as Mayor to encourage the local authorities to include Taxis in their TfL-funded traffic modelling schemes?”
Sadiq Khan responded saying: “I recognise that taxis are an important mode of transport that provide a key accessible, door-to-door service for Londoners and tourists. To deliver my ambition of zero emission transport, an increase in trips undertaken by walking, cycling and public transport will be required, with all remaining vehicle trips conducted with zero emissions. This includes taxis, which are all expected to be zero mission capable by 2033.
“Transport for London (TfL) published borough guidance in September 2019 that sets out how to deliver local Zero Emission Zones (ZEZ) across London to help reduce traffic in the near term by prioritising zero emission vehicles and therefore make way for wider streetscape changes that support active, efficient and sustainable transport. Taxis and private hire vehicles are identified specifically in this guidance and encouraged to be considered during the design of new ZEZs.
“However considerable work has been undertaken to assess the key strategic routes used by taxis to inform future scheme development. As an example, on Bishopsgate, TfL is currently implementing a scheme which restricts access along the corridor to buses, walking and cycling (Mon to Friday 7am to 7pm) but ensures that taxi and servicing access is maintained from side routes. Taxis also remain exempt from the Congestion charge and are permitted access to the large majority of bus lanes.
“Other schemes such as my Streetspace programme are in development and although no decisions on the proposed schemes have yet been made, TfL anticipates starting to make decisions in the coming weeks.”