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TURNING CIRCLE, SIX SEATS AND PARTITIONS: 1,500 London taxi drivers share views on taxi features

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) recently conducted an online survey among its members to gauge their opinions on significant features of London cabs. Over 1,500 licensed taxi drivers participated in the survey within a week.

The survey aimed to understand the views of the taxi drivers and represent them effectively on crucial issues. The results provide valuable insights into the drivers' preferences. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly 90% of respondents highlighted the importance of having a partition in the taxi for passenger safety and privacy.

  • Approximately 85% of the participants considered the 24-foot turning circle to be either important or very important for manoeuvrability.

  • An overwhelming majority of 90% expressed the significance of London cabs maintaining the iconic appearance that they are known for.

  • Around 74% of the respondents believed that having six seats in the cab is an important feature.

These results revealed by the LTDA, come amid ongoing debates within the London taxi trade concerning the potential revision of Transport for London's Conditions of Fitness (CoF).

Various voices within the trade have called for a review of the CoF to allow for the licensing of alternative vehicles as London taxis. Many drivers are becoming increasingly concerned about the high costs associated with the currently approved vehicle, the LEVC TX.

While calls for change persist, it is important to note that certain aspects of the CoF, such as wheelchair accessibility and emissions specifications, will not be revised by TfL. This means that only a limited number of vehicles, specifically pure electric vans or large MPVs, can be converted into London taxis.

Presently, the Mercedes E Vito van, Stellantis (Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot, Toyota) van, and Maxus van are the most viable candidates, with starting prices ranging from £40,000 to £65,000. According to the LTDA, the cost of converting these vehicles and adapting them to meet ALL of the CoF requirements would likely add an additional £23,000 to the final price, making the Maxus van the most affordable option at around £63-£65,000.

The cost of the features broken down individually includes around £12,000 for the iconic turning circle and a further £11,000 for addictions such as partitions, wheelchair ramps and taxi ‘for-hire’ lights.

As discussions surrounding the CoF continue, the preferences and concerns expressed by licensed taxi drivers through the LTDA survey could play a crucial role in shaping future policies and decisions related to London cabs.


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