Council bosses have welcomed a commitment to maintain funding for the popular Taxicard scheme after Transport for London and City Hall proposed cuts in their support.
Operated by London Councils, the scheme funds subsidised taxi journeys for disabled and mobility impaired Londoners, allowing them to make journeys many would otherwise struggle to carry out on public transport.
Funding is provided by TfL, which is chaired by Mayor Sadiq Khan, and London’s local councils, with users paying just a small contribution towards their fare.
In December London Councils, which represents all councils in the capital, expressed concern after TfL proposed a 13% cut to its funding in the coming financial year, followed by further, smaller, cuts in the following years.
Councillor Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee and the Labour leader of Ealing Council, claimed the proposal went against Mayor Khan’s election pledge to support the scheme.
In a letter to City Hall, he also warned that the cuts, which were proposed without first carrying out an equalities impact assessment, could leave them open to a legal challenge.
In response to the criticisms Val Shawcross, Mr Khan’s transport deputy, insisted the Mayor and TfL were “fully committed to the Taxicard scheme, and can guarantee that there will no reduction at all in the service being provided anywhere in London.”
On Friday London Councils announced that the planned cuts had been dropped with TfL now guaranteeing that, in the 2018/19 financial year, the scheme will receive the same level of funding as it did in the previous year, as well any increases needed to cover rises in taxi fares.
Cllr Bell said: “We are delighted that we have secured this commitment on behalf of London’s Taxicard users and our member boroughs.
“TfL’s proposal to cut their funding contribution to the Taxicard scheme would have had a significant impact on the level of subsidy offered, limiting people’s ability to travel in and around the capital.
“Now we know that TfL’s Taxicard’s budget will be maintained in 2018-19, we can focus on ensuring the scheme works in the best possible way for users and our member boroughs.”