‘The end of black cabs’: Taxi drivers facing ruin due to Clean Air Zones

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Black cab drivers in Manchester have told of their fears that the city’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will put an end to their businesses. The scheme launches on May 30 and aims to reduce the amount of polluting vehicles in the region.

The CAZ will mean drivers of buses, taxis, vans, coaches and lorries that don’t meet strict emissions standards will have to pay a daily fee to drive in Greater Manchester.

For taxi and private hire vehicles that charge is £7.50 per day.

However the charge is much higher for HGVs, buses and coaches at £60 a day.

Not paying the fee will result in a fine of £120 plus the daily charge.

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Shaw, who makes on average around £4 per trip, added: “I’ve talked to other colleagues and they say they will leave their jobs and find alternatives.

“I have my pension but what will the young people do? I think it’s the beginning of the end for black cabs. New electric cabs cost £70k. They only do a certain amount of miles with one charge. It’s worrying.

“The Government is giving grants out for electric cars but you have to pay interest.”

While Greater Manchester has secured £120million in Government funding to help businesses and a Clean Air Zone Financial Support Scheme launched to assist drivers in buying new compliant vehicles, taxi owners say it’s not enough.

It’s thought there are currently around 75,000 non-compliant commercial diesel vehicles in Greater Manchester.

And the zone will also affect thousands of traders driving into the city from surrounding areas.

David Lawrie, director at the National Private Hire and Taxi Association, said the union has seen a “massive drop” in driver and vehicle numbers already as a result of the pandemic.

He said: “The overall issue is, of course, that this will not only affect those who own Euro 5 vehicles, it will affect everyone, simply because it will push up the price of all goods and services including fuel for the general public.”



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