Licensed Taxi Drivers Association issues Mayor with eight demands to help cut air pollution emissions from taxis
London cab drivers are urging the Mayor to establish a network of 500 electric and hybrid vehicle rapid charge points for the sole use of taxis in a bid to boost the capital’s air quality.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), in partnership with campaign group Clean Air in London (CAL), this week (February 3) issued an ‘Eight point transformation package’ aimed at cutting emissions and boosting electric vehicle uptake in London’s taxi and private hire industry.
Among its demands, the LTDA – which represents 10,000 of the 24,000 taxi drivers in London – is urging that by no later than January 1 2018, all newly-licensed taxis are electric or plug-in petrol electric hybrids with a minimum daily travelling range of 40 miles.
In addition, it states that all private hire vehicles (PHVs) should meet this same requirement with immediate effect “because many such vehicles are available to purchase todayâ€?, while the Mayor is also asked to consider minimum tyre and brake wear standards.
In order to support the increase in electric or hybrid taxis, the Mayor is urged to establish a network of 500 rapid charge points in Greater London by no later than January 1 2018 “for the sole use of taxis with a geographic focus on inner London and air pollution hotspots to encourage visits to themâ€?.
It adds that this network must offer at least an 80% charge within 30-40 minutes at “modest or no cost to driversâ€?.
To meet its proposed electric and hybrid taxi requirements, the LTDA is also seeking a £150 million fund from the Mayor towards the purchase of the first 15,000 compliant taxis. This would be on top of the £5,000 government grant already available towards the purchase of an electric vehicle.
Other demands include immediately scrapping the existing 15-year age limit requirement, as well as the proposed 10-year age limit requirement, on newly licensed taxis and introducing new vehicle excise duty bands based on the total sum of real world tailpipe emissions of particulate matter PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide.
The LTDA insisted that the eight demands are a “total packageâ€? and “not an a la carte menu from which the Mayor can pick and chooseâ€?.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA, said: “London taxi drivers want to be able to purchase and drive, clean modern taxis. With the right incentives and by working with the trade Boris has the opportunity to ensure that London is the first city in the world to have a taxi fleet comprised exclusively of zero emission capable vehicles.â€?
The Association began working with Clean Air in London last year to boost awareness of air pollution, and it was revealed last month that 20,000 books of taxi receipts have been distributed promoting free air quality information phone apps and the CAL logo (see airqualitynews.com story).
Simon Birkett, founder and director of CAL, said: “After nearly seven years as Mayor, Boris Johnson can no longer blame others for the state of the taxi industry and the 30% of particle emissions he estimates it produces in central London.
“Few people outside the taxi industry realise that the Mayor’s strict Public Carriage Office requirements determine which vehicle(s) a taxi driver can buy and/or drive to do his or her job. Today, this means drivers must buy one of two large, relatively unaffordable diesel vehicles to compete against Private Hire Vehicles purchased at a fraction of that cost. The Mayor should turn an onerous obligation into a mechanism for transformation.
He added: “The ‘Eight point transformation package’ is deliverable, financially realistic and good for customers, taxi and PHV drivers and public health.â€?
LTDA’s full list of eight demands is available on the Clean Air in London website.