Boris test-drives new zero-emission London taxis

All new London taxis will be zero-emission from 2018, Boris Johnson announced today.

The Mayor of London appeared at an event showcasing the new green black cabs, which will soon start to appear across the capital.

From January 2018, only new taxis which are zero-emission capable will be able to be licenced. Transport for London (TfL) imposes a 15-year age limit on taxis so by 2033, all the capital’s cabs will be green.

Five different manufacturers will be making the taxis, which aim to help reduce pollution in the capital. Currently around 30% of air pollution in London’s post polluted areas is caused by taxis.

Garrett Emmerson, Transport for London surface transport chief operating officer, said clean taxis would make a big difference to air quality.

“They’re also cheaper to run too. It makes sense to buy them because drivers can save £30, £40 even £50 a day,” he added.

Some of the taxis will be subsidised to make them more attractive for cabbies to buy, but the Mayor wouldn’t reveal how much that would cost TfL.

“This won’t work unless taxi drivers can buy them affordably,” Johnson said at the event.

He then enthusiastically climbed into a cab and drove it a few feet asking the audience of press and industry bods: “Which one’s your favourite? Shall we have a vote?”

Back in black

Zero-emissions London taxi

One of the taxis, from Turkish firm Karsan, was designed in partnership with the London College of Art

Despite their green credentials, the taxis will be staying black, Emmerson said.

“Drivers tell us they get more business with a black cab so around 70-80% will be black.”

In fact, they look very similar to existing cabs, so it might be hard for Londoners to tell when they’ve stepped into a zero-emission taxi.

However, the designers have updated the classic look with features such as easier access for people with reduced mobility and a light-up sign to show when people are getting out to avoid collisions with cyclists.

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