There has been a big push to improve air quality lately, due to the tens of thousands of deaths per year linked to it. There are a number of legislative proposals intended to deal with the root causes of air pollution. Many of these rules are being proposed and passed on a city by city basis, since the British government ordered councils to find ways to reduce pollution. Let’s look at how Newcastle’s new taxi legislation could affect the industry.
An Overview of the Legislation
The Newcastle City Council has proposed a congestion charge of up to £12.50 per day that would probably go into effect in 2021. This would be charged to drivers who enter the boundaries of the city centre, including taxies, private hire vehicles and buses. Many of the vehicles allowed in the town centre also have to be low emission or emission free.
The wheelchair accessible versions of these vehicles cost more than 50,000 pounds. This legislation is similar to proposals in Leeds, Bath and Sheffield. The congestion charge and related policy changes are intended to reduce pollution and improve air quality.
Related Legal Changes
At the same time, roads like Durant Road will be turned into cycle lanes. Other roads will only be open to buses. Many roads will be closed to all traffic. ANPR cameras will be used to identify traffic violators as well as automatically assess the congestion charges to drivers. Ironically, the city ended locality tests and allows anyone with a driving license to receive a private hire license badge, something that increases the number of de facto taxi drivers in the city.
The Likely Impacts of the Legislation
Buses and lorries will be charged a higher rate, up to £12.50, while smaller vehicles will pay more like £9 per day. The current proposal would only apply this fee to vehicles that are not eco-friendly. The logical result of this will be an increase in bus fares for most people, due to the steep cost of new vehicles. Taxi drivers will have to increase their fares, too, because they’ll probably pay more than £350 more per month simply to remain in business. We’ll probably see an increase in food supply costs because lorries have to pay an extra fee to come into town.
How Taxi Operators Can Cope
As of this writing, the congestion charge would apply to diesel cars registered before September 2015, and petrol vehicles that pre-date 2006. The policies would certainly punish many people with older vehicles, and this includes many taxi drivers. One option for taxis is to buy low emission or zero emission vehicles to avoid the congestion charge.
Struggling tax drivers driving older vehicles will have to cut costs or raise fees to offset the new congestion charges when they go into effect. In the interim, they can try to cut costs by finding cheaper taxi insurance with a site like Quotezone.co.uk. They allow you to compare quotes from a wide variety of insurers, so you don’t pay for more coverage than you need. If you want to learn more about their service, you can use this website to find your insurance provider.
Note that where you drive your taxi and store it are factors in determining how much a minicab and black cab costs to insure. Other factors include the make, model, and age of your vehicle. For example, minicab insurance is cheaper. If you continue to drive an older vehicle with a basic insurance policy, you may be able to earn the same profits each month even after the congestion fee hits.
Another strategy is proactively avoiding unnecessary costs. For example, you pay more for insurance if you have any points on your taxi license or have to file an insurance claim due to an accident. This means that drivers can save money two different ways by being incredibly safe. You don’t have to pay tickets and claims, and you’ll save money on auto insurance, too. However, you should shop around because insurers give different weights to factors like claim history and tickets.
Invest in vehicle maintenance. If your vehicle is in top working condition, you’re less likely to be in an accident. This is necessary whether or not you have dedicated breakdown cover.
You’ll pay more for high-end vehicles in a variety of ways. High end vehicles, imports and modified vehicles of all types cost more than a basic cab. You can save money by buying a vehicle that is just good enough for your customers and has good fuel economy. This reduces the overall cost of the replacement vehicles. And you’ll pay less for insurance, too.
There are a variety of proposals on the table to reduce air pollution across the UK. Charging fees to enter a clean air zone is only one of many options. However, this policy could end up adversely impacting taxi drivers and their customers.