The RMT have raised concerns over the London taxi industry's ability to maintain a fully functioning taxi service after revealing that there may be an uphill battle in accessing many roads across the capital.
The RMT attended a number of meetings regarding the Draft Transport Strategies for both the City of London and Camden.
Whilst signs were encouraging from the City of London, it was revealed the the taxi industry had not secured any protection feom within the Mayors Transport Strategy (MTS), and despite the mayor and TfLs assurances that the London taxi industry is part of the public transport network, there is only a token nod to the industry in the MTS.
There is also no protection in place pertaining to Local Implementatiin Plans (LIP), leaving the taxi industry wide open to multiple road exclusions.
Local Authorities are compelled to implement all aspects of both the MTS as well as the LIPs, with the main priorities being the bus network, cycling and pedestrian usage. The taxi industry has however, been virtually ignored within any legislation. As a result of this, the industry has in-effect been "planned-out" by both TfL and Local Authorities. This has led to the licenses London taxi industry being reduced to the same status as minicabs and private cars.
The Mayors Transport Strategy's main aim is to reduce journeys made by private vehicles, minicabs and taxis. This is achieved by prioritising buses, cycling and walking, and with any given Local Authorities tendancy to follow the MTS with stoical rigidity, this creates a situation where the taxi trade could end up extinct by default.
In 2018, the RMT pushed for ammendments within the MTS to align the taxi industry with the bus network. This would mean that taxis would be added to the priority for funding alongside buses. As a result, taxis would then glean equal access rights.
Currently, the MTS does not reflect the Inclusive Transport Strategy (ITS) which was released around the same time as the MTS.
The RMT have stated that they will push for the inclusive access for the taxi industry, as prescribed within the ITS to be reflected in all the Mayor’s and TFL’s legislation.
Both CoL and Camden have been asked to reflect the section covering taxis within the ITS to be included within their transport strategies.
It is believed that this will secure the taxi industry's door to door service and maintain the ability for taxis to be hired kerbside.
The RMT have also said that they will push for all taxis, not just electric taxis, to be included in any Local Authority scheme which has been initiated under TFL’s Liveable Neighbourhood Plan.
The plan aims to close sections of the highway to all fossil fuel vehicles, thus leaving the area an electric vehicle only thoroughfare.
The RMT have said that without the action outlined the taxi trade will continue to lose great swathes of the road network. They also stated that the Mayor and TFL need to strongly consider this and include the taxi induindustry atry in their current plans and legislation.