Ken & Boris don’t care about London’s iconic black cab

Lawrence Webb is the UKIP Mayoral candidate
Lawrence Webb, UKIP’s candidate for Mayor of London, says the policies of rivals Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson show they “don’t care” about London’s iconic black cab trade.

Ask anyone what is iconic about London and they will tell you that the black cab is part of everyday life in the capital.

If you visit any one of the numerous tourist shops in London you will find souvenirs and knick-knacks to remind people of their trip.

Along with red post boxes and telephone boxes there are also miniature black cabs. The black cab is as synonymous with London as is Tower Bridge. However this industry, like so many others, is under threat.

Since November last year all new LTI taxis must be fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).

Instead of an all new engine, this filter is simply being retro-fitted to the existing model. Whist we all want to breathe cleaner air, these filters are not the answer especially as they add extra three thousand pounds or so to cost of a new taxi.

In many ways this is nothing more than a tax, levied at a sector that can ill afford it at a time when fuels costs are also going through the roof. 
Increasingly drivers of the traditional black cab are playing on an un-level playing field with the odds decidedly stacked against them.

On top of the fifteen year lifetime of a taxi, as imposed upon them by TfL, drivers of new vehicles will have to work longer to cover the initial purchase price leaving less time to put aside money for the next cab.
But it is not just the additional cost that these filters bring; they simply do not work in an urban environment and can often result in costly repairs; not only in having the filters ‘re-generated’, but also to the engine itself if the filters are allowed to clog which causes back-pressure.

If that were not enough, there is new evidence that point to DPF filters being responsible for a number of vehicle fires. 

If the Low Emission Zone were purely about lowering emissions, then there are other simpler ways of achieving that goal, not least reducing the duty on cleaner diesel which would not only benefit the environment but the motorist as well.
One of the greatest threat to the survival of the black cab trade comes from certain politicians. Ken despises all that is British and, particularly those things that are uniquely so.

And so desperate is he to see the British identity homogenised into a common European one that he actively encouraged the proliferation of ‘Euro-architecture’ – those awful red tile clad structures that seem to spring up everywhere and at the same time rid the streets of those things that remind us of who we are.  
Ask yourself why it is that Ken massively increased the number of private-hire vehicles in London and Boris has presided over ever greater encroachment of these operators into the areas that were once (and legally still should be) the preserve of the black cab.

Traditional taxi ranks are being removed while ‘satellite offices’ are springing up everywhere. ‘Clipboard Johnnies’ working alongside a rank of minicabs illegally ‘plying for hire’, seem to be more concerned with expansion of criminal enterprise that they do with providing a safe public service.
Whilst Ken and Boris argue about whose train set will run faster than the others and try and distract us with their various vanity projects, there is one group of people who know exactly what is going on and that is the London cabbie.

They see and hear everything and do not hesitate to voice their displeasure at what they see going on around them. Listen to any talk-radio station in the capital and you will undoubtedly hear cabbies calling in from across London telling people what is really going on and how the ordinary hard working folk of London truly feel about it. 

Perhaps that is why Ken and Boris are not concerned with the possible demise of the traditional London taxi? 

I believe that the service provided by the black cab is unique and is the envy of cities around the world and something that is worth fighting to preserve.
Lawrence Webb is the UKIP candidate for Mayor of London. Find out more about his campaign at or follow him on Twitter: @UKIPWebb4London 


  1. Tony Woolf says

    Any cyclist who has been stuck behind a black cab in a traffic jam knows that something must be done about their exaust pollution. Has Webb got any constructive suggestions? Iconic is all very well but I want to live please.

  2. Robin says

    Yes but importing Mercedes cabs, adds to redundancies,Britain’s disastrous industrial policy of last 30 years….lame ducks etc.. importing German windfarms not ”Green” at all.. go Lawrence……….

  3. Bryan Paul Tomlinson says

    Well done Mr. Webb. Common sense and supportive views to help protect the best taxi service in the world.
    It’s a disgrace that Londoners have to put up with the ridiculous Boris and Ken Show again. Livingstone oversaw massive financial irregularities at the DLA, a racist anti British policy of an ethnic knowledge and the corrupt scheme of a private hire licensing system that turns illegal touts into illegal touts sponsored by TFL yellow discs.
    Johnson has been on a 4 year worldwide jolly but been unable to answer reasonable questions at the Mayor’s Question Time. His buffoonery may have been quirky when growing up but he is an embarrassment to our great city. Boris’s highlights are copying the Paris bike hire scheme and bringing out a new bus that has cost £8,000,000 and can’t complete one journey.
    I will support Lawrence Webb and vote UKIP for the first time in my life. I believe Lawrence Webb supports all Londoner’s work prospects.
    I also promised to ignore the Conservative, Labour and Libdem political parties at all future elections. They all ignored the democratic right of the British people to have a referendum about EU membership. WE should return the favour.
    Good luck Mr. Webb.

  4. Steve says

    Tony Woolf may i remind you that London is the power house of this country, generating wealth, jobs and prosperity for us all.

    London is here to make money pure and simple, if it’s “village” life you want may i suggest you go and live in one.

  5. Patrick Raeburn says

    Lawrence Webb seeks to be Mayor of London and makes one of his main pledges about Black Cabs Drivers. Mr Webb there are 23000 Black Drivers of which 80% do not even have a vote in the Mayoral election. There over 60,000 thousand Private Hire Drivers in London most local Londoners providing local services to their fellow citizens. An industry employing approximately 100,000 local people, it is not a wise idea to alienate such voters.
    The only right a Licensed London Taxi driver has is to ply-for- hire. Private hire has grown in areas abandoned by Black Cabs , Londoners have voted with their feet and embraced Private Hire . The Licensed London Taxis are the best service in the world but also the most expensive is undermined by the attitude of many within their own ranks, they forget this is a customer service business, refusing to take passengers where they want to go. This diminishes their image and iconic status.
    Your concern about the residual value of a cab but you make no mention of the deadly amounts of NOx and PM10 emitted by Black Cabs. Families with asthmatic children will note your lack of concern for clean air in London. Reduction of tax on diesel is not something the Mayor can do, please read the job description before putting yourself up for election.
    Finally as previously stated Black Cabs abandoned areas of work at pubs and clubs for example their customers still needed to get home and could not wait until the recession forced Black Cabs out of Canary Wharf to work at night. Ken Livingstone introduced a higher night rate to encourage Black Cabs to work nights. Licensed Operating centres in venues ( they are not satellite offices ) are legal and the many mindless and without any legal basis pronouncements by you or Black Cab Drivers will not change this
    Your views and choice of words does little to dispel the perception of UKIP as “little Englanders” or the “BNP-in Blazers”

  6. Bryan Paul Tomlinson says

    Dear Mr. Raeburn, I sense a bitterness and hatred against London’s taxi drivers. Would you be kind enough to say why ?
    You post is full of myths. The biggest cause of pollution on our streets is caused by traffic works that are done on the cheap and ridiculous road planning that closes side streets.
    London taxis are not expensive. Londoners use taxis for short journeys as they are cheaper for 2 or 3 people than public transport. The minimum fare in a taxi is £2.20, the minimum fare in London’s biggest minicab firm is £11. A passenger travelling from the Lanesborough to Heathrow will pay £150 in a hotel minicab or £65 to £80 in a licensed taxi.
    London’s Licensed Taxi Service is continually voted the world’s best. English people being the world’s best really brings out the worse in you.
    What is a little Englander ?

  7. dave roche says

    unfortunately LTI cant afford to engineer the polution countermeasures required by current legislation. the reason for this, is the relatively small volume of cars they sell in the UK.
    I do not believe this problem will threaten the excellent service provided by black cab drivers, they simply need to choose a different vehicle.
    Mercedes is an option, and just like the LTI cab, the body is made overseas and assembled into a taxi in Coventry by a British firm employing British workers. This car is cheaper to run, has longer service intervals, a longer warranty. Whats not to like?

  8. Bryan says

    Hello Dave, I disagree with your dismissal of London’s iconic TX4 purposebuilt taxi. I’m buying a new taxi in a couple of months and will choose a Euro 5 LTI TX4. The Mercedes is a great vehicle for airport runs and carries 6 passengers. My TX4 is a true London landmark and is treated as such by visitors to London. I’m proud to be English and traditional and don’t want to drive a vehicle that is too similar to a minicab or a Euro Taxi. Spitfire or Messerschmitt ? English or Euroboring ?
    Back to politics. UKIP or EU obsessive Conservative, Labour and LibDems ? I’m voting for Lawrence Webb as i’m fed up with the anti working class policies of the Conservative, Labour and Libdem political parties.
    Democracy in our country is a sham so why support it at the ballot box ?