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Minicab target for ULEZ not physically possible

Booking service app Kabbee calls for number of ULEZ changes to help minicabs prepare for TfL’s 2018 target

Transport for London’s 2018 target for taxi and minicab fleets to be fully compliant with standards set in the forthcoming ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) is “not physically possibleâ€?, according to minicab booking service app Kabbee.

Kabbee has put forward several recommendations to TfL regarding ULEZ targets for minicabs

Kabbee has put forward several recommendations to TfL regarding ULEZ targets for minicabs

In an industry white paper it has submitted to TfL “on behalf of London’s leading minicab fleetsâ€?, Kabbee requests support for minicab drivers to prepare for the introduction of the ULEZ and makes a number of recommendations.

TfL has set a target of January 2018 for taxis and minicabs to be ULEZ-ready, although the ULEZ does will not itself come into force until 2020.

Vehicles less than 18 months old must be zero emission capable, while older taxis must simply meet minimum ULEZ standards.

The policy will affect 65,000 minicabs and 23,000 black cabs.

However, while Kabbee stresses that the ULEZ “will become an essential part in making the capital’s air cleaner and improving the quality of life for Londonersâ€?, it claims that the 2018 target is “not physically possibleâ€? for minicab fleets.

According to the white paper, the potential financial loss caused by the transition to be ULEZ-ready is “a big concern for existing minicab and black cab fleetsâ€?.

Instead, the white paper argues that the transition to be ULEZ-ready should by phased over a two year period “with clearly presented support from TfLâ€?.

This is one of several recommendations set out in the white paper, which are the result of a roundtable discussion between “key private hire and taxi industry stakeholdersâ€? hosted by Kabbee earlier this year.

The white paper also recommends the following:

  • Improved charging infrastructure – existing charging infrastructure in London is not yet sufficient for the recharge of London’s existing electric vehicles, so this must be in place to encourage stakeholders to buy a green vehicle.
  • Government support and subsidisation – there must be clear support and subsidisation options made available to all minicab and black cab operators.
  • A dedicated ULEZ communication hub – a TfL-owned regularly updated communication channel for all stakeholders affected by London’s ULEZ should be made available.
  • Improved green vehicle innovation and supply – supply of green vehicles is not currently sufficient to respond to the demands created by the ULEZ. More innovation and better supply of green vehicles is imminent.

Minicabs

A steering group of 10 medium-to-large sized minicab firms which each have between 50 and 500 cars were involved in the white paper, and have called on TfL to respond to its recommendations.

These London-based firms include: Airport Direct, Greater London Cars, Falcon Cars, Hummingbird Cars, Driven A to B, 247 Airport Transfer, The Keen Group, Metro Express, Airports Carriage and Cheetah Cars.

Sean McGrath, managing director at minicab firm Airport Direct, added: “The introduction of ULEZ is much easier for black cab owners than minicab fleets. Each black cab driver is responsible for one vehicle and the green upgrade options are clear and achievable, due to economies of scale.

“Minicab fleets often employ the services of 50-100 independent drivers who each have different budgets or existing lease agreements on their vehicles. To attempt to help each driver get ready in time for 2018 would be extremely difficult.â€?

Chief executive and founder of Kabbee, Justin Peters, said: “As an aggregator of over 60 fleets, Kabbee has been helping to improve London’s cab industry since inception in 2011. It is our mission to ‘Make Minicabs Mighty’, and that’s why we are intervening to challenge TfL’s cliff-edge deadlines, which will result in minicab fleets paying to enter London – as cost that will be passed on to the consumer.

“If TfL is serious about reducing emissions over generating income via the ULEZ tax, they will consider our white paper recommendations and make these necessary changes with immediate effect.â€?

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