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Plans for switch to electric cabs in London a ‘dog’s breakfast’ lacking ambition

Proposals announced today (Wednesday 19 December) by Transport for London (TfL) and Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London to switch London’s black cab fleet to electric are not ambitious enough and could lead to the capital’s black cab drivers holding onto diesel taxis for longer, Unite the union warned.

Highlighting that the £18 million package falls short of the initial £40 million promised for the mayor’s decommissioning scheme, Unite warned that proposals to speed up the reduction in age limits for London’s black cabs would reduce trade-in values, leaving drivers with smaller deposits to put down on electric replacements.   

Added to that, a lack of infrastructure and investment in dedicated charging points for electric taxis by TfL and local councils could leave the take up of electric taxis in the slow lane, the union said.

Calling for TfL and the Mayor of London to engage with the capital’s cab drivers, Jim Kelly from Unite’s London cab section said: “These proposals represent a £22 million cut in the money promised for decommissioning diesel cabs on London’s roads and could result in de-incentivising the switch to electric taxis in the short to the medium term.

“Added to that, you have a chronic lack of investment in charging points leading to taxi drivers waiting for over two hours to charge their electric cab.

“Short on ambition, there is a real risk that these proposals will end up as nothing more than a dog’s breakfast and lead to cab drivers holding on to diesel vehicles for longer or going out business.

“We would urge TfL and the mayor to think again, and work with London’s cab drivers on a package of measures that properly incentivises the switch to electric black cabs and reduces emissions.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 alex.flynn@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors  

• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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