London’s Lack of EV Infrastructure Slammed

London’s Lack of EV Infrastructure Slammed

A representative of London cab drivers has slammed the complete lack of electric vehicle charging points in a substantial portion of the inner city.

At an often lively and engaging meeting of the Greater London Assembly (GLA)’s Transport Committee, committee chairperson Caroline Pidgeon asked Steve McNamara from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association about “the charging infrastructure, the rapid charging points needed, for this electric revolution”. He responded by damning London’s existing EV charging infrastructure as “woefully inadequate. Although this is probably the one area where Transport for London (TfL) shine above the boroughs”. Going further, he explained: “TfL own 5% of London’s major roads … yet the vast majority of rapid charging is on TfL roads. I think most of the boroughs have got no rapid charging points in at all”.

McNamara then lambasted London’s authorities for promoting electric taxis to the cabbies he represents as the “most efficient” form of taxi, while presiding over a situation in which there are currently no rapid charging points at all in the cities of Westminster and London, the capital’s political and financial nerve centers. He was speaking as part of a panel of representatives of London cab drivers which also included Mick Walker from the London Cab Drivers Club and Trevor Merralls of the United Cabbies Group.

The men also accused the GLA and TfL of “killing off London’s iconic black cab trade” by operating a “two-tier system” of regulation that provides private hire and app-based operators with preferential treatment. They claimed that unless taxis, minicabs and private hire firms were regulated in a more uniform way, they would be “the last generation of taxi drivers”.

The cabbies’ representatives also boasted that their fleet management systems were “dead easy” to use, whereas those used by app-based firms like Uber were more nebulous. They called for “smart road pricing” to be introduced on a 24-hour basis but claimed the current road infrastructure and pricing technology was incapable of supporting this. Conservative Party London mayoral hopeful and committee member Shaun Bailey added at a separate point in the meeting that he had serious reservations about the potential privacy implications of in-dash smart pricing tech that tracks a vehicle’s journey and whereabouts.

The meeting also grilled a panel of representatives from London’s private hire sector including Steve Wright from the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), Robert Scott of Greater London Hire and Addison Lee’s Andrew Wescott. Wescott discussed his private hire company’s work in leading the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles’ MERGE Greenwich project. He said AV ride-sharing still presented “a number of challenges” and if such mobility services were eventually to be offered across London, they would need to be regulated by TfL.

Wright then issued a call for TfL “to stop app-only companies coming into central London altogether”, as he claimed much of the city’s traffic congestion was caused by such companies entering the downtown core.



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