May 22, 2020
Over 120 drivers in the Nottinghamshire area are refusing to buy a taxi with low emissions before the June 30 deadline implemented by Nottingham City Council, after experiencing a huge loss in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Drivers have been making as little as £15 a day while the UK has been in lockdown and would be required to take out substantial loans in order to purchase vehicles which meet the emissions rule. These vehicles can cost from £32,000 up to a colossal £75,000. The council have stated they want 400 black cabs off the road and replaced with vehicles which meet Low or Zero Emissions standards and have set a deadline of June 30, 2020, for this to happen.
Taxi driver associations in the area have slammed this ruling and are enraged that it is still expected to go ahead given the unprecedented times the UK has been in since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely damaged the taxi industry. Lockdown has meant that up to four in five black cab and private hire drivers have been forced off the road, with most of the activities that make up the trade’s work like sporting events, schools, pubs and restaurants and the travel industry ground to a halt.
Chandar Sood from Wollaton is a cabbie in the area and a former secretary of the Nottingham City Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association. He reported that hackney drivers in the area had been experiencing hard times even before the global emergency and that the expenditure involved in switching to a low emissions vehicle has now become harder than ever for them to achieve. He said “Where is the money going to come from if you are not making any money? How are we going to pay the instalments? It is a high investment.”
Clean Air Zone
The Nottingham Clean Air plan sets out the cities aim to minimise air pollution and lower this to within legal limits from 2020, and part of this strategy involves refusing vehicles that emit high levels of pollution from entering the area. To facilitate this, they have ordered a small number of cars which they will be able to lease to drivers and used £700,000 in Government funding to install electric charging stations in the city. But cabbies feel this is not enough. Wasim Amin, chairman of the Nottingham Licensed Taxi Owners and Drivers Association said “It is difficult times not just for taxi drivers but for everyone. It is devastating.”