How is the Taxi Industry Battling Climate Change?

COP 27 once again highlighted the pressing challenge of climate change, which remains a key focus for government and private sector businesses throughout the world.

Of course, there’s also a focus on households to reduce car usage and minimise their own carbon footprints, with the use of public transport seen as central to this.

Of course, this could also increase the demand for taxis, but drivers in the industry are taking their own steps to battle climate change. We’ll explore these further below:

Common Modes of Transport Post 2019

Despite the drive to battle climate change, cars remain the single most popular mode of transportation on a daily basis.

In fact, 46% of Brits travel for work purposes and use cars or vans to get there, with this mode of transportation seeing a marked hike in the last three years (and particularly following the coronavirus pandemic).

However, this has also created an opportunity for taxi drivers, who can offer a convenient commuting solution while also reducing the number of cars on the road. This is why there’s a drive to reduce the emissions from taxi cabs and make this industry more energy efficient.

oxford electric bikes
Oxford has led the way for the UK with schemes like electric scooter hire and the low emission zone

How are Taxis Becoming More Eco-friendly

Of course, taxis are already becoming more popular, thanks to the convenience and cost savings offered through automated apps like Uber.

At the same time, taxi firms nationwide are liaising with local councils and transport agencies to introduce innovative air pollution solutions, building on the reduction of cars out on the road at any given time. But how else is the industry reacting to the challenge of climate change?

  • #1. New Licensing Requirements: As of 2018, new taxi drivers have been prohibited from being granted a license if they operate diesel-powered vehicles. This was a huge development for the sector, and while petrol-powered cars are still allowed, new drivers will need to drive electric or hybrid vehicles if they’re to successfully apply for a license in the UK. 
  • #2. Congestion Charges Rolled Out: London Mayor Sadiq Khan continues to roll out congestion charges for motorists in the busiest areas of London, in order to reduce air pollution and move closer towards Net Zero. The success of this initiative has caused other major cities to introduce congestion charges, which may be applied in different locations and at alternative parts of the day. This is encouraging drivers to ditch their cars and seek out other modes of transport.
  • #3. The User of Vehicle Age Limits: This is another attempt to reduce the number of diesel-powered cars on the road, with London taxi firms and drivers not permitted to operate vehicles of a certain age. Over time, this will gradually diminish the number of petrol and diesel cars out on the road, while the percentage of electric and hybrid cars increases during the same period.