GMB, the union for professional drivers, is urging TfL to be flexible in phasing in the new policy of reducing the age of the cab fleet to 12 years, by making an exception for older long term drivers facing difficulty in econically replacing vehicles before reaching retirement age.
The taxi driver representatives say they fully accept and support the reasons for reducing the age of the cab fleet to get cleaner air. However, the GMB are asking the regulators to phase in the changes, so as not to prevent a small number of long term older drivers from earning a living.
The reduction in taxi ages from 15 years to 12, could have a devastating effect on an industry already under pressure. Residual values of the fleet are estimated to drop by roughly £50 million as a result of the reduction.
As reported in TaxiPoint yesterday, it is argued that a reduction in age limits will also affect resale value of the vehicles. Drivers leasing their cabs from garages are likely to face higher rental prices to cover any shortfalls on the vehicles’ investment too.
The capital’s regulators say that the industry is currently responsible for 25 per cent of harmful NOx emissions, and next year they will be the biggest source of transport pollution in central London.
London’s cabbies have been supportive to this point in accelerating the greening of its fleet. Individual taxi drivers have invested roughly £100million on new zero-emission vehicles with 2,000 of the iconic vehicles now on London’s roads.
Steve Garelick GMB Regional Organiser said: “Whilst we accept the need to improve air quality we are still deeply concerned that this will affect drivers in their twilight work years.
“We are concerned that with the extra cost to keep vehicles on the road those companies that rent vehicles will stop this as the cost and will not show a decent return on investment.
“It is already difficult for drivers to find vehicles in the rental market.
“GMB is committed to drivers and their families.”