Transport for London will consult on proposals to reduce the taxi age limit for the dirtiest vehicles to 12 years by 2022 much to the anger of drivers and taxi representatives.
The 15-year age limit would be strictly mandated in 2019, with a proposed reduction in the age limit each year until a 12 year age limit is reached. The age limit for Euro 6, LPG and ZEC taxis is proposed to remain at 15 years.
The London regulators also announced today that take-up of existing support to delicense dirty diesels has been low, with only around £450,000 of a multimillion pound fund used. TfL has restructured this funding to make it more attractive, with £18m of payments available for taxi drivers who delicense their vehicles. Top payments of £10,000 are available to the first 250 applicants, with tiered payment levels available at significantly higher levels than the current scheme.
A limited number of LPG conversion grants will also be available to drivers of Euro 5 taxis to support the shift of those vehicles with the worst NOx emissions to cleaner vehicles. The new delicensing payments and LPG grants will be open to applicants in January 2019.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, reacted angrily to the Mayor’s announcement by saying:
“The Mayor has today shown a shocking disregard for London’s historic black cab trade. Around 18,000 hardworking cabbies and the livelihoods of Londoners will be hit by this reduction.
“Sadiq is holding two thirds of London’s cab drivers to ransom. He’s banning them from using or selling on their cabs, while doing next to nothing to help them buy the new electric taxi. This is a kick in the teeth. It will decimate the fleets, put drivers out of work and adversely affect the entire trade.
“To add insult to injury the Mayor has drastically cut the £42 million ‘ring-fenced’ to help cabbies make the switch – not enough in itself – to £18 million.
“London’s taxi drivers know how crucial it is we tackle air pollution and want to switch to the cleaner cab – over 1000 already have. We need more money for a realistic decommissioning scheme, and TfL must work with the boroughs to install more rapid charging points for taxis. Drivers need to feel confident when buying the taxi that they can charge it wherever they are in London, and get back to work as quickly as possible.”