We are deeply disappointed by London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan's proposals to sharply reduce the funding for the Taxicard scheme. In his manifesto, published during last year's Mayoral Campaign, Khan explicitly promised to:
"Ensure Taxicard continues to provide crucial support for those less able to get around London."
Cutting Taxicard funding would be an explicit betrayal of this manifesto pledge.
The Taxicard scheme provides subsidised door to door journeys in licensed taxis and private hire vehicles for London residents who have serious mobility or visual impairments. This helps people who find using public transport very difficult or impossible – such as the blind or those unable to walk. We strongly oppose any reduction in funding for this scheme.
We are also concerned that Sadiq failed to formally consult any of the London boroughs, or London Councils which operates the scheme on their behalf.
"These cuts show how anti-localist the Mayor is, and the duplicitous and chaotic way the cuts are being brought in demonstrates how the regime at City Hall is becoming ever more arrogant and power-grabbing."
- Ravenscourt Park Councillor Harry Phibbs
Mayor Khan has mismanaged the TfL budget from the word go. His misguided fare freeze, which doesn't even include travelcards as he promised, as well as a myriad of other costly policies means that the Mayor needs to find as much as £760 million in savings before 2020. And now we know where the axe will fall: on some of our city's most vulnerable and seriously disabled residents.
The proposed cut in Taxicard funding of 13% in 2018/19, and a negligible increase in subsequent years, represents a significant reduction in services. This means that disabled Londoners will have access to fewer journeys, or will have their subsidy reduced.
There are plenty of more sensible savings that could be made, such as the 'nominee passes'. All TfL workers are eligible for the this perk which gives free travel on buses, Tubes and the DLR to their family, flatmates or even lodgers. The cost of this is projected to hit £111 million by 2020, money which would be much better spent on protecting Taxicard funding for London's most vulnerable residents.