Black cab representatives are set to meet City Hall this week, to discuss a more workable proposal to make London’s taxi fleet greener quicker.
Heidi Alexander, the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, agreed to meet taxi officials in “the next couple of days”, during a live public debate held yesterday in London.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association’s (LTDA) General Secretary, Steve McNamara, stood to quiz Alexander during the State of London debate, asking why City Hall wasn’t doing more to support proposals and the testing, which would speed up improved air quality in the capital.
The proposal made by McNamara centres around the idea of retrofitting roughly 4,600 Euro 5 standard taxis into cleaner Euro 6 vehicles.
Calculations show that if City Hall were to support the idea of funding the proposal, rather than cut taxi age limits as first proposed, a reduction in NOx of 50% more by 2022 would be achieved.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is currently proposing to reduce the age limits on older taxis from 15 to 12 years, in a bid to remove more polluting cabs off the road.
City Hall’s proposal could however have a devastating effect on an industry already under pressure, as the residual values of the fleet could drop by roughly £50 million.
It is argued that a reduction in age limits will affect resale value of the vehicles. Drivers leasing their cabs from garages are likely to face higher rental prices to cover any short falls on the vehicles investment too.
Steve McNamara said earlier in LTDA’s Taxi publication: “We needed a workable solution that would give Mayor Sadiq Khan the air quality improvements he wants, without decimating our trade.
“Our proposal negates the need to bring down the age limit, retaining existing vehicle residual values and it would actually enhance the current depleted values of Euro V cabs, which become sought after around the country once they are re-certified as Euro VI.”
Taxi drivers have already heavily contributed towards the move in helping improve air quality in the capital. Cabbies have invested well over £100 million in new vehicles and there are now almost 2,000 zero-emission capable (ZEC) taxis on the streets.
Image (Heidi Alexander): Greater London Authority