In all my years ( 34 ) of driving a taxi, I must say that if TFL refuse to listen and engage with the taxi trade going forwards, i really fear for our future.
Over the years we have of course held meetings with Tfl, but trying to deal with a Regulator who does not fully understand our “business” and a mayor who I really believe hates us, could prove a bigger hurdle than we can jump.
Why does our Mayor still refuse to meet any taxi trade representatives since being elected, but at a drop of a hat has a private meeting with the Uber CEO, Dara Khosowshahi ? … I am guessing its more to massage the Mayors green ego and making powerful friends going forwards.
I realise its busy, but there are fundamental challenges within the trade that need addressing. Why did the trade have to submit to a ZEC vehicle back in 2018 when the infrastructure was awful even then. The price of our taxi went from a £47k Vito to a £67k Txe in a matter of weeks, surely making sure the charging infrastructure was in place and sufficient should have been the priority, instead of “putting the cart before the horse”.
The TXe is liked by drivers and the public alike, but it cannot be good for drivers having a monopoly situation now Dynamo have ceased production.
TFL need to realise that in these uncertain times it is very difficult for older drivers to finance a taxi costing so much to buy or rent, the hours needed in the saddle simply don’t add up for many. The LCDC have asked TFL to extend the plate life on a TXe to 20 years at least and any full electric ( like a Dynamo) have a lifespan until it can no longer pass a test at a tfl test centre. This would help drivers invest longer term and allow a older driver to purchase a new taxi, maybe keep it for ten years and then sell it on and retire, leaving him a taxi with ten years left on its plate, thus giving him a few pounds to help him into his retirement.
Members tell me that they are only looking to keep their TXe for five years whilst it is under warranty, how can it be good for drivers who can only safely keep their taxi for a third of their plate life due to the cost of parts and repairs out of warranty?… madness Going forwards we need more financial incentives to buy the every expensive greener taxis, and need competition in the market place.
Transport for London really need to listen to the problems being faced by drivers and again, understand just how “WE” run our business.