London Taxi PR holds discussions with Mayor of Hackney on ULEV restrictions
London Taxi PR (LTPR), an organisation which represents the interests of the Licensed London Taxi profession, has announced that it has held an exploratory talks meeting with both the Mayor of Hackney and representatives from Hackney Council to discuss the ULEV road restrictions that have been imposed in the Borough.
The talks were held at Hackney Town Hall on 18thFebruary 2019 and have been instigated due to LTPR’s persistent campaigning not only on behalf of the licensed Taxi profession, but on behalf of ALL Taxi passengers, particularly those with disabilities who rely on London Taxis as part of the public transportation system, to retain their independence for transport purposes.
As a result of consultation with various organisations, LTPR has gained the support for their campaign to have these restrictions lifted for ALL London Taxis fromorganisations such as Transport for All, an advocacy group who champion the rights of Disabled and older people to travel with independence in London. The London Taxicard scheme alone has over 70,000 registered users with physical and/or sensory impairments and across London each day up to 8,000 trips are taken by older and disabled people in accessible London taxis. Inclusion London, which supports over 70 deaf and disabled organisations working across every London borough have also offered their support for LTPR’s campaign.
Both of their supporting statements with regards to the implications of restrictions of movement and their freedom of choice that is being applied to passengers who may be elderly or have disabilities, were just one of the main concerns that were highlighted by LTPR during the meeting with the Mayor of Hackney.
LTPR informed the Mayor that since the ULEV road traffic restrictions were instigated into the Borough of Hackney last year https://consultation.hackney.gov.uk/streetscene/city-fringe-ultra-low-emission-streets-1/ they have in the opinion of the licensed London Taxi profession, completely restricted access to these routes for London Taxis, and also taken away the ability for customers to choose Taxis to travel to and from these areas.
What is more, these restrictions could be seen as effectively as a restraint of trade being applied to the London Taxi profession, by restricting their ability to move around freely, thereby forcing them into the same traffic as all other motorists. London Taxis have been able to move without restriction throughout London for 365 years, providing the only public transport door to door service for passengers. By restricting access to roads in the Boroughs of London such as Hackney, they are effectively being forced into only being able to offer a 5% service to customers, due to only 5% of London Taxis currently being electric. Even though the restrictions apply for a period of hours, they are still preventing access for the remaining 95% of the working Taxi fleet and their passengers, which would result in passengers being dropped off and picked up at least 150 metres from their desired point in many instances. It was expressed that this would result in passengers being unwilling to use London Taxis and also tarnish their reputation for being able to offer a door to door service.
Reference was made by LTPR to statements by Prof. Anthony Frew, Professor of Allergy & Respiratory Medicine, Royal Sussex County Hospital a former member of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP). He and other eminent Physicians have cast doubt over The Mayor of London’s quotes of epidemiological studies claiming that 9,000 Londoners are dying prematurely every year because of poor air quality, and that estimates of national fatalities have increased from 40,000 to 60,000 per year. These have formed the basis for the data that has prompted the implementation of the ULEV and ULEZ schemes throughout areas of London. Professor Frew states that these statistics don’t refer to real people but is derived from the estimated 340,000 life years lost by everyone in the UK as a result of an average ‘early death’ of around three days due to air pollution, all things being equal, which in reality they are not.
Prof. Frew states that just because pollution levels have been made illegal doesn’t mean that they are dangerous. Experts he says, can’t agree on any link between NOx and mortality, and the latest Office for National Statistics data shows that the North-South divide for life expectancy is clearly wealth-related rather than related to air quality. He claims that even by banning ALLtransport in London, would only reduce particulate levels from the current average 14 micrograms per cubic metre to 12, the worldwide background level being 7 micrograms per cubic metre. Therefore, the potential air quality benefits of a ULEZ or CAZ would be insignificant.
The argument was also put forward by LTPR that not only are these restrictions felt to be a restrictive practice being imposed on the profession, in their role as an integral part of London’s public transport system, but, more importantly, for all Taxi passengers. Equally, it is thought that by allowing only electric vehicles to access these areas that the restrictions are potentially puttingpassengers with disabilities at a disadvantage, and the aim could have been achieved through less restrictive alternatives.
All London Taxis are purpose built, fully wheelchair accessible vehicles, and many passengers with disabilities have come to depend and rely on London Taxis to allow them to be more independent and get around London, quickly & safely, for whatever purpose, be it work, hospital, socialising, shopping etc. They are the vehicles that provide a door to door service for all passengers, something which has become an integral part of their service.
The Mayor was informed that the implication of these restrictions have been that the vast majority of the 23,500licensed Taxis in London are now unable to go into theaffected roads, as the restrictions only allow access toelectric vehicles.
According to confirmed statistics, currently, there are just1,200 Electric taxis in operation across the whole of the UK, which amounts to just 5% of the total licensed operating Taxis. With only approximately 8,000 Taxis working at any one time during a day, if all of those 5% were to be working at the same time, that would still only leave just 400 electric compliant Taxis out of approximately 8,000 that would be allowed within the restriction zones. Thereby restricting 95% of the working Taxi fleet from operating as public transport carrierwithin these areas. There are currently only 160 rapid charging points available in the whole of London, with just 65 of them being made available to London Taxis. Of these are only 12 sited in Central London, and NONEof the Taxi only points are in Westminster or the City of London.
Licensed London Taxis have been a part of London’s landscape for the past 365 years and play an integral part of London’s public transport system. Their door to door service has made them the most envied, highly reputableand recognisable Taxi service in the world. They have a history of being able to know and access roads and streets that are not known to other drivers and have been doing this successfully for all Taxi passengers for the past 365 years. This is why they have gained theirreputation as the world’s no.1 Taxi service and are frequently used by other global brands to promote their business and services. This is what has defined the London Taxi profession. Their Knowledge, professional service, safety record, stringent assessments, access &ability to get around London.
The meeting with the Mayor of Hackney and LTPR was adjourned, and it was emphasised that although no decisions had been made, important views and facts had been put forward on behalf of the London Taxiprofession and its passengers, and that further talks would take place at an agreed date & time, with further dialogue being exchanged in between.
Since their formation, London Taxi PR has undertaken aseries of targeted media campaigns, which are being usedby London Taxi PR to promote the benefits, advantages and safety of using the iconic London Taxi to a wide audience.
All the campaigns and publicity that has so far been generated by the company has been funded by fellow London Taxi drivers as well as supportive companies andorganisations, many of whom have signed up to donate to the cause on a monthly basis, indicating how passionate they all are about their industry and the cause.
London Taxi PR. Passionate about promoting and preserving the iconic London Taxi trade and funded by London Taxi drivers who care about their industry.
For more information on London Taxi PR and their campaigns, please visit their website http://londontaxipr.com