The taxi industry has left Transport for London (TfL) in no doubt over its objection to future road pricing plans potentially due for 2024.
The United Cabbie Group (UCG) is the latest to voice early concerns as the Mayor of London begins considering road pricing schemes that could charge motorists based on distance travelled, time traveled and potentially where traveled in the capital.
According to The Guardian in January, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested that London should become a leader in introducing smart road pricing. A report found car journeys needed to be cut by more than a quarter to meet net zero emissions targets by 2030.
In a UCG statement released on March 4, it read: “TfL informed taxi and PHV representatives this week that they are studying the feasibility of introducing an interim road pricing measure from 2024 to reduce congestion and pollution to close the gap to net carbon targets in 2030.
“After the abject mess we have seen on the roads over the past 18 months where road space has been reduced or restricted in accordance with TfL policy, further exacerbated by the Tube strikes this week, we very much welcome sure of a reduction in congestion which has an impact on our ability to move our passengers around London quickly.
“While they say ‘the conversation has just started and no decision has been made’, UCG have left TfL in no doubt about our objection. We’ve had this before; being told that no decision has been taken and we want to hear what you have to say and then do it anyway.
“Our business has spent millions buying new vehicles to meet air quality goals. Taxis are publicly hired in the same way as buses. Currently exempt from Congestion Charge and ULEZ. Granted road space and exemptions on this public employment status and our legitimate expectation as a form of public transport to use London’s roads to do our job.
“It should stay that way – our passengers should not be required to pay a TfL-regulated metered fare for their trip in a Black Cab and then pay extra to use the route the driver needs to take that passenger to their destination. London’s roads are our office Passengers using Black Cabs don’t drive their cars and avoid the car-led recovery that TfL fears, so we’re part of the solution not part of the problem of reducing congestion at London.
“We look forward to the detailed impact assessment and will present more detailed views in the next consultation in order to fully represent the interests of our members.”
The statement follows similar sentiments shared by another taxi group, the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC), which has urged TfL to consider the role of black cabs as a public service.
LCDC President Grant Davis said via LCDC.UK“The point has been made to TfL that under no circumstances should TfL and the Mayor consider licensed taxis paying for a ‘pay per mile’ scheme.
“We are public transport and as such, if TfL and the Mayor really want to clean up the air quality in London and reduce the use of private cars, then we really are part of the solution and not part of the problem. “
Davis concluded: “Today was the start of a very serious conversation about road pricing and I know that for my part I will oppose every step of the way that licensed taxis have to pay.”