October 3, 2019
Hackneys are renowned for their longevity, however a ruling by mayor of London Sadiq Khan to decrease the maximum age limit for hackney taxis from 15 to 12 years has been slammed by the London Assembly during a recent Mayors Question Time.
The decision has been widely met with fear and anger from cabbies whose business plans relied on their vehicles being road worthy for 15 years. It was questioned by London Assembly members David Kurthen and Keith Prince, who proposed that this decision should be rescinded. Kurthen and Prince highlighted that should the motion go ahead as planned, it would be hugely harmful to the taxi business and would act to discourage drivers.
In addition to decreasing the age limit of hackney taxis, the mayor has also determined that limitations for annual registrations will be altered, the main change being that there will be a mandate on the maximum age so a black cab will only be registered if it has at least a year left before the maximum age.
A Greener London?
Both decisions have been made to support the initiative to creating a ‘Zero Emissions Zone’ in the city by 2020 – an initiative which has already been boosted by £24 million in grants toward helping drivers trading in their older taxis for electric equivalents, amongst a number of other campaigns to back the campaign.
However, both decisions will impact the number of black cabs on the road in a major way – it is expected that around 6000 hackney carriages would be wiped from future use in line with the restrictions by 2021. What’s more, there’s only one taxi which currently meets the clean air regulations in London and it’s feared that production levels of this model will not be able to keep up with the demand in order to bridge the gap created by those older vehicles taken off the road.
The mayor has been quick to defend his stance on the policies he has implemented on the issue to date thus far. He claims that he has provided a number of privileges for cabbies in the city such as more bus lanes, suitable for taxis, grants for scrapping old taxis and the previously mentioned funding available for the purchase of new electric cabs.
The Counter Argument
Just some of the counterarguments highlighted following the claims from Khan are that there are occasions where taxis are in fact not permitted to use bus lanes, and that the pertinent charging points for electric vehicles are in short supply. The mayor has promised to investigate.
We all need to be on board with green initiatives in response to growing environmental concerns, but do you think the approach so far is the right one, or do you agree that Mr Khan needs to adjust his tactics?