THIRD LESS TAXIS: London’s black taxi fleet spirals below 15,000 as calls for urgent support grows

The number of black cabs in London have dropped below 15,000 as the numbers continue to spiral, according to latest data released by Transport for London (TfL).

There are now only 14,984 taxis licensed in the capital, a total that represents a THIRD LESS taxis available to taxi drivers and passengers since Spring 2015.

Records show that in April 2015 there were 22,500 taxis registered in Greater London. Since then the number of taxi vehicles available to cabbies have alarmingly dropped. The decrease has been accelerated due to the financial impact on the industry of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest figures show the number of black cabs in the fleet dropped by 280 vehicles in just one week. Due to the pandemic, only 9 new ZEC taxis were registered with the London authority in the same week ending Sunday 1 November.

Since June 2020, more than 3,500 licensed taxis have been lost from London, nearly 160 on average per week.

By comparison, just 699 taxis were delicensed over the course of a whole year, between June 2019 and June 2020.

Earlier this week the Licensed Taxi Drivers‘ Association (LTDA) called for urgent financial support for London’s taxi trade, as the number of licensed taxis in the capital hits an all-time low.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: “These figures represent drivers with nowhere left to turn, being forced off the road. Every vehicle delicensed represents a driver’s livelihood gone and at this rate of decline, without urgent intervention, the iconic black cab could be lost from London forever.

“Taxi drivers can’t work from home. They also can’t earn a living if everyone else is staying at home. This may sound obvious, but it’s a simple fact that policymakers don’t seem to be able to grasp, and its not just a problem in London, taxi drivers are facing the same challenges in cities up and down the UK.

“Other industries in similar circumstances, like hospitality and other transport operators, have received specific, tailored packages of financial support to help them get through the difficult months ahead, but the taxi trade has been forgotten.

“We are calling on the Government and the Mayor of London to step in to protect drivers from ruin and ensure the taxi trade, a key part of London’s transport network, survives this national crisis, but so far our calls have fallen on deaf ears.

“Drivers need a greater level of support through the extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, and to ensure no one is left behind we also need a dedicated package of financial support for the taxi trade.”

London’s licensed taxis have invested £200million into 3,837 ZEC vehicles to clean up the capital’s poor air quality as requested by the Mayor of London.

However due to the higher initial cost of electric vehicles, continued restrictions placed on taxi road access and now a downturn in work levels caused by the coronavirus, some cabbies are reluctant to invest.

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