The number of taxi ranks in London is to rise by 20% after a £600,000 commitment from the capital’s mayor Boris Johnson.
Transport for London (TfL) and Mr Johnson have today published plans to create 100 more taxi ranks in the city by 2020, while raising service numbers in the suburbs and launching a new body to oversee the future of the industry.
The move comes amid ongoing controversy over the legality of mobile taxi app Uber. Thousands of black cab drivers plunged central London into gridlock last year in protest over fare calculations used by the technology and the actions of TfL, which trade unions claimed had failed to protect the taxi industry from unregulated competition. While TfL has deemed the app legal, it is still waiting on a final decision from the High Court.
Yet Mr Johnson said today’s plans ‘deliver on my commitment to listen to the taxi trade and to help it to continue to offer passengers a first rate service’.
TfL has committed to raising its understanding of taxi supply and demand in the London suburbs through a survey that will inform future policy. A Suburban Action Plan has raised the possibility of increasing the number of island ranks in these locations to ensure services continue to meet public need.
A new Taxi and Private Hire Terms of Reference Group will be founded to consider the future developments of taxi and private hire trades. TfL will also establish a regular forum where industry issues can be raised with drivers and trade representatives.
London’s transport commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: ‘London’s taxi and private hire services are the envy of the world and, under our oversight, are thriving. Customer satisfaction rates are high and our robust enforcement work with police colleagues means journeys in taxi and private hire vehicles have never been safer.
‘However, we are not complacent and recognise that both the taxi and private hire trades must move with the times and keep pace with technological advances. We have carefully considered the Assembly’s recommendations and I’m pleased that several are already in hand; and have today published two further action plans to develop the services offered to passengers.’