Today I attended a zoom meeting with Transport for London and representatives from the Taxi and Private Hire Industry regarding future plans from TFL to look at drivers within London paying per mile to drive in the Capital.
The point was made to TFL that under no circumstances should TFL and the Mayor be looking at Licensed taxis to be paying any “pay per mile” scheme as we are Public Transport and as such if TFL and the Mayor are really serious about cleaning up the air quality in London and reduce private car usage, then we really are part of the solution and not the
As for the PH industry, the argument can be made that they must be included in any scheme as the name alone “PRIVATE HIRE” suggests it is just that, a person driving a private vehicle into London. The point of LTN closures within London was also made where roads in more middle / upper class areas are shut off, pushing the higher volume of traffic into poorer areas of society. It is worth noting that one of the first roads shut with LTN`s was the actual road in which Andrew Gilligan ( transport advisor to the Prime Minister) lived.
The figure which was put out there about today was that TFL wish to see a staggering cut of 27% in traffic volumes within London, and there was me thinking London was going to remain on the list of “Worlds Greatest Cities” and not an empty shell of closed shops and empty business premises, it is truly a depressing thought.
TFL Managers made the point that they have not discussed what system would be introduced, would it be a black box, or even an app on your phone that would be able to track your journeys and automatically take the money out of your bank.
I really worry where this is all going as the taxi trade has a real crap history when it comes to engaging with TFL consultations.
I myself have no faith in these and I reiterated to TFL ( Director of transport strategy and policy ) Christina Calderato the story that when the taxi trade first attended the Age limit consultation meeting, I asked her if she had already leaked to a prominent PH Union leader
( that I had spoken to ) several weeks ago that unfortunately for him and his members, the PH would be paying the Congestion Charge, but then told him not to worry as the Taxi industry was going to have a twelve year age limit inflicted upon them.
She at first denied ever speaking to him, but it was only when I told her that he had agreed to sign an affidavit at our lawyers office regarding their conversation, she admitted she had indeed spoken to the individual. I said, how can I have trust in any kind of consultation with TFL as I feel it is already a done deal and these meetings are just a “tick the box” meeting.
I also asked her how she felt that we in the taxi trade are enduring a monopoly of vehicles due to the TFL ULEZ strategy?
She replied that she thought it was positive for the trade to have these new green taxis and that her feedback was that both the drivers and public liked the vehicle.
Again, this today was the start of a very serious conversation about road pricing and I know that I for one will be objecting at every stage in Licensed Taxis having to pay.