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Author Topic: Are unnecessary black cab journeys now a luxury that none of us can afford?  (Read 908 times)
grahame
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« on: June 04, 2020, 08:02:02 am »

From the Independent

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There is an unseen elephant in our cities transport systems, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pause - cab congestion. Cities cannot allow the cab industry to go back to business as usual if they are to provide the necessary space for people walking and cycling at a safe social distance when they reopen.

Go to almost any city in the world, before coronavirus, and you will have experienced city centres choked with cab jams. From Delhi to New York, our cities were clogged with taxis, blocking emergency vehicles and delaying millions of workers going to work by bus. What is worse, they are empty for about 50 per cent of the time on the road, while cruising for passengers.

London is a classic example. ...

Long and interesting article continues
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2020, 10:12:52 am »

It is quite interesting but I think it's also London-centric, in that many of the problems addressed don't relate to other cities and not to towns and rural areas at all. This is partly due to the density of cabs in London but also the political power of the LTDA, which isn't replicated at national level. Certainly I agree with the author that the exemption of cabs from the congestion charge and clean air zone requirements should be ended, and hopefully they won't be given exemptions if a congestion charge or similar is introduced in Bristol, for example.

As an urban but non-London cyclist I don't really recognise the description of taxis as dangerous or hostile. I'd say they're usually better driven than most cars. I know my son has commented that on his walk to school, which includes crossing a busy road at an "informal crossing place" (where an island is provided in the middle of the road to make it easier, but there's not zebra or pelican) taxi drivers and van drivers are the only ones who stop to let kids cross.

The problem of what would happen to cabbies in a minimal-taxi city is mentioned but what about the passengers? Some will use public transport (difficult at the moment but hopefully not in the future), some will walk or cycle, but many will drive instead. As one cab transports many passengers in a day but a car typically takes only one person, this will actually add to congestion. And while the author allows disabled people and moving heavy items as legitimate taxi journeys, they say "far too many cab trips are still made by fit young people going on a night out or by executives on short work trips using expense accounts." I'd say that enabling people to take nights out safely – where safely means both not driving while intoxicated and personal safety – is a prime function of taxis. As for executives on short work trips, again, I'd rather they taxied than drove themselves; taking the tube to work then a taxi to meet a client seems better than driving your own car for both.

That's enough for now!
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Surrey 455
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2020, 01:37:10 pm »

From the same article in the Independent
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I became concerned that their {the black cab drivers} claim that cycling caused “increased congestion and pollution” was gaining traction. (The data, of course, absolutely shows this not to be so. Congestion and pollution along the new East-West cycleway in central London is down 15 per cent, according to City of London Corporation reports.)

My frequent observations pre Covid19 at the junction of London Wall and Moorgate were that cycling does seem to cause congestion. Sitting on a northbound bus waiting to go through the traffic lights, we are overtaken by multiple cyclists on both sides who then congregate in the designated cyclists box at the front of the queue. There is normally more than 10 cyclists there. The lights turn green and the cyclists go through. By the time they have all done that the traffic behind can go through, but it has taken the cyclists so long that often only 2-3 vehicles make it before the lights change again.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2020, 08:51:38 pm »

OTOH if we call it 12 cyclists (to make the maths simpler!) and we transfer them to cars at the mean occupancy of 1.2 per car, that would be 10 extra cars. Allow 5m for an average car length plus at least 1m between cars, call it 6m per car, so the queue is already 60m longer. It is also 10 vehicles' worth of exhaust gases dirtier.
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Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
Marlburian
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 09:22:18 am »

And bikes take up far less space  then cars when parked.

I've long thought there's something illogical about 80+sq ft of metal being used to convey one person for, say, 30 minutes to work, then for it to stand around for eight or nine hours before the journey back home. And I've sometimes wondered (perhaps previously in Coffee Shop) if there's scope for the return of bubble cars.
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Celestial
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 10:18:11 am »

And bikes take up far less space  then cars when parked.

I've long thought there's something illogical about 80+sq ft of metal being used to convey one person for, say, 30 minutes to work, then for it to stand around for eight or nine hours before the journey back home. And I've sometimes wondered (perhaps previously in Coffee Shop) if there's scope for the return of bubble cars.
Well there are small cars available, eg the Fiat 500, so people have the choice to buy new small cars. Unfortunately more and more people are buying SUV's, which is well documented as meaning that the fall in emissions due to more efficient engines is now being reversed. This is over the same period as the fuel duty escalator has been suspended and fuel prices have been relatively stable (and probably reducing in real terms). Whether the two are linked is a moot point of course.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 12:04:41 pm »

Oxford has 1000 bike spaces and 500 car parking spaces, yet the car park is nine times the area of the bike park, so I think Marlburian's point stands!
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2020, 01:06:27 pm »

Oxford has 1000 bike spaces and 500 car parking spaces, yet the car park is nine times the area of the bike park, so I think Marlburian's point stands!

Precisely. There are a lot of bikes in those photograhs - how much space would an equivalent number of parked cars take up?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2020, 02:44:34 pm »

Bringing us back to cabs, taxis take up as much room as a car when parked or indeed being driven (obviously, cos that's what they are), but a difference is that they don't tend to get parked. They're either driving or waiting at a taxi rank, which isn't available to other vehicles for parking. There was a suggestion in the Independent article that taxis should be only available on an app (I'm presuming old fashioned phone calls would do as well) to stop them cruising round for custom. AFAICS this is, again, a London problem. It's not something I notice taxis doing anywhere else. It does sound like a good idea (mostly), as the taxi ranks could then be any old where, with cabs waiting till they get a call. Although (the exception to the mostly) there will always be busy locations and times (airports, theatres, clubs, and of course busy stations) where large numbers of people will want a cab NOW!
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Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
broadgage
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2020, 01:28:03 pm »

When I was working in London, there were two somewhat related reasons for taking a black cab when the underground would have been cheaper and greener.
Firstly my work involved the carrying around of a small tool kit that included a Stanley knife or other "bladed article" I felt it prudent to avoid LUL services due to the risk of having to pass through a "knife arch" or be subjected to a random search.
Whilst the carrying of a small pocket knife or craft knife in a tool box as a tool of ones trade sounds lawful, PCSOs tended to take a different view and I did not care to be arrested and prosecuted, even if later acquitted.
My concern was well founded because a co worker HAD been arrested and charged with carrying an offensive weapon. They were acquitted, but faced months of worry, legal expenses, and loss of wages. Their temporary contract was not renewed allegedly because "being arrested for carrying a weapon" was looked upon with disfavour even if not convicted.
A lot of taxi fares can be paid with the money not spent on legal costs.

The other hazard of underground or bus travel was being refused admission for "carrying alcoholic drink" The actual prohibition was on drinking or carrying open containers of drink. But some staff over interpreted the rules and refused passage to anyone carrying shopping that included alcoholic drink.
Simpler to take a taxi.

On the underground I also had a slight fear of inadvertently breaking the rules surrounding oyster cards and being done for fare evasion. Life was much simpler in the days of a printed card tickets.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2020, 02:46:50 pm »

When I was working in London, there were two somewhat related reasons for taking a black cab when the underground would have been cheaper and greener.

London taxis have their place. I have used them, on occasions ... urgent journey, heavy luggage, or with person with limited mobility, or when in a group that fills a taxi.

I do recall - not London, but St Albans, lines of taxis both at the station and in the City centre on still days choking the air with diesel fumes before I realised just how many problems such fumes cause.  Never min the health dangers - just darned unpleasant!
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broadgage
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2020, 04:35:52 pm »

Whilst I feel that it would be an unreasonable burden to prohibit or restrict use of existing taxis that were compliant when purchased, I WOULD support a requirement that all new taxis first licensed after say 2022 should be electric.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
eightonedee
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2020, 04:40:33 pm »

Quote
I do recall - not London, but St Albans, lines of taxis both at the station and in the City centre on still days choking the air with diesel fumes before I realised just how many problems such fumes cause.  Never min the health dangers - just darned unpleasant!

That's not just a taxi problem - also idling buses and diesel trains at Stations too.
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Surrey 455
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2020, 06:56:53 pm »

Whilst I feel that it would be an unreasonable burden to prohibit or restrict use of existing taxis that were compliant when purchased, I WOULD support a requirement that all new taxis first licensed after say 2022 should be electric.

From TfL
Quote
New licensing requirements from 1 January 2018
Since 1 January 2018, taxis presented for licensing for the first time have needed to be ZEC. This means having CO2 emissions of no more than 50g/km and a minimum 30 mile zero emission range
First-time taxi vehicle licences are no longer granted to diesel taxis. ZEC taxis with petrol engines need to meet the latest emissions standard (currently Euro 6)

Also from the Mayor of London on 15th February 2019
Quote
London is facing an air quality crisis with filthy fumes reducing the length and quality of life in the capital. Black cabs are exempt from the Ultra Low Emission Zone, but they cause 20 per cent of road transport emissions in central London, and this is expected to grow further this year unless action is taken. TfL’s proposals aim to address this by reducing taxi-based NOx emissions by 65 per cent by 2025.

They include:

  • A tightening of the rules so that taxis cannot be licensed beyond their 15th anniversary, rather than being able to operate for up to a full 16th year
  • A phased reduction in the age limit for the most polluting taxis to 12 years by 2022 by decreasing the current 15-year limit each year, by a year, from 2020
  • Removing the automatic age limit exemptions for alternative fuel conversions, historic vehicles or personal circumstances
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2020, 08:10:47 pm »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOxnJQP2_0E

Apparently the driver's seat is far comfier than in the old diesel cabs.
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