Updated: Mar 6, 2022
The taxi industry left Transport for London (TfL) in ‘no doubt’ of its objection to future road-pricing plans potentially pencilled in for 2024.
The United Cabbie Group (UCG) are the latest to express their early concerns as the Mayor of London begins plans to explore road pricing schemes that could charge motorists by the distance travelled, time travelled and potentially the location of travel in the capital.
According to The Guardian in January, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan suggested London should become a leader in introducing smart road pricing. A report found car journeys needed to be cut by more than a quarter to meet net zero emissions targets by 2030.
In a UCG statement released on 4 March it reads: “TfL made Taxi and PHV representatives aware this week they are looking at the feasibility of introducing an interim road pricing measure from 2024 to reduce congestion and pollution to bridge the gap to Net Carbon objectives in 2030.
“After the abject mess we have seen on the roads for the last 18 months where road space has been reduced or restricted as TfL policy, further exacerbated by this week's Tube strikes, we of course welcome a reduction in congestion which impacts on our ability to move our passengers around London quickly.
“Whilst they say "the conversation has just started, and no decisions have been made" the UCG left TfL in no doubt of our objection. We have had this before; being told no decision has been made and we want to listen to what you have to say then do it anyway.
“Our trade has spent millions purchasing new vehicles to meet air quality objectives. Taxis are publicly hired the same as Buses. Currently exempt from the Congestion Charge and ULEZ. Afforded road space and exemptions on that publicly hired status and our legitimate expectation as a form of public transport to use London's roads to do our job.
“It should remain that way - our passengers should not be required to pay a TfL regulated metered fare for their journey in a Black Cab and then pay an extra charge to use the road needed by the driver to take that passenger to their destination. London's roads are our office. Passengers using Black Cabs are not driving their cars and avoiding the car led recovery TfL are fearful of, so we are part of the solution not the problem in reducing congestion in London.
“We look forward to the detailed Impact Assessment with interest and outline more detailed views in the forthcoming consultation to fully represent our members interests.”
The statement follows similar sentiments shared by another taxi group, the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC), who urged TfL to consider the role of black cabs as a public service.
Grant Davis, LCDC Chairman, said via LCDC.UK: “The point was made to TfL that under no circumstances should TfL and the Mayor be looking at Licensed Taxis to be paying any “pay per mile” scheme.
“We are Public Transport and as such if TfL and the Mayor are really serious about cleaning up the air quality in London and reduce private car usage, then we really are part of the solution and not the problem.”
Davis concluded: “This today was the start of a very serious conversation about road pricing and I know that I for one will be objecting at every stage in Licensed Taxis having to pay.”