Black taxi drivers in London are working two extra hours a day due to ‘astronomical’ petrol prices and fear that more time behind the wheel could lead to accidents. Taxi drivers at a London Bridge taxi stand were also angry at forecourts’ failure to pass on the 5p fuel tax cut announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Spring Budget last week.
Hardest hit are drivers with TX4 diesel model cabs with a 50 liter fuel tank who will now pay almost £90 for a refill down from around £65 last year. Even taxi drivers with a newer hybrid LEVC TX have reported a £10 spike in their weekly recharge, while energy prices mean the cost of a full recharge has doubled. As energy bills rise, the problem looks set to get worse.
Eleven-year-old taxi driver Matt Westfall, 52, of Buckhurst Hill, described the failure to pass on the fuel tax cut as a “shame”. He added: “We’re still waiting for it to fall. It’s absolutely outrageous how these oil companies can get away with it, it’s borderline criminal.”
READ MORE: Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco latest petrol prices in London as supermarkets cut big
He revealed that the cost of recharging his hybrid had risen from £6 to £10 and a full tank of gas from £30 to £40. This forced him to work longer hours – sometimes up to 14 hours a day. He called for gas stations to be nationalized and tied to the price of oil within 24 hours.
He continued: “What bothers me is not that oil has gone up – okay for energy we have to pay – what I don’t like is when the barrel goes up and the next morning the price of fuel goes up but it takes them a week to introduce a discount. They set it up in an instant but it takes days to come down.
“It’s costing me a lot, so either I take the hit or I work a few extra hours every day. I’m lucky to have a job where I can work a few extra hours. If you have a job where you don’t can’t work overtime You might say if I work two more hours I’ll be fine, but you only get one job, so you do three.
“There could be a problem with overwork with the stress they put on drivers. Some people are maxed out as we speak, people are going to panic. Accidents are going to happen as people are spending more hours at paying the bills. I think there’s a problem coming up the hill. It’s not going to be pretty.”
Harry, 53, from Hornsey, looked tired as he described the real impact fuel prices have had on his life. He said: “It’s just increased costs on top of my hours behind the wheel. It’s eating away at my pocket, my time and my quality of life. I feel like the whole situation with the increased fuel is handled. It’s part of the big squeeze on all of us. I manage my mental health pretty well, but it’s hard when you can’t relax and cool off.
Some drivers were more optimistic about the fuel hike, telling MyLondon there was no reason to worry. Paul Branch, 68, said: “I’m at a certain age where I’m not so embarrassed, but if I was younger I’d probably be worried.” Paul Derry, 64, from Essex, said: “It’s what it is, you gotta have it. I’ll never retire, I can’t afford to retire.”
Others shared their tips for getting a better deal, with most recommending a supermarket like Tesco or Morrisons who often offer discounts. Yet, as one driver noted, “even supermarkets” are looking to the price of a BP garage.
Roy, 49, said: “It’s ridiculous the petrol prices, and they’ve just put electric in. It’s costing me an extra £3.50 per charge. I don’t know if the prices gasoline is affecting the electricity. We’re lucky it’s reasonably busy at the moment but if business drops we’ll have problems again like during the pandemic when we had no work.”
Joe Donohoe, 60, said: “What can I say, they’re astronomical. I haven’t calculated at all. For a liter I pay 8 or 9p more. I mainly go to Tesco now, they seem be the cheapest. . I can’t do anything about it, and if I can’t do anything about it, there’s no point in worrying about it.”
Twenty-nine-year-old veteran Peter Jarvis, 59, is now working an extra six hours a week to offset an estimated £500-a-year increase in fuel costs alone. “The cost of living is getting ridiculous, I don’t know what the answer is,” he said, “at this time last year I was paying 15p per kilowatt, now it’s up to 30 pence per kilowatt.
“Using an electric taxi has saved me a lot of money. I would definitely recommend anyone to move away from fossil fuel vehicles. The biggest problem I have is that I don’t have not the capacity of the battery I ride on petrol and then I have a choice of going petrol or finding a fast charger but there just isn’t TfL funding or of the government is not there.
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Hello, I am a journalist for MyLondon. I cover stories across the capital every day.
I graduated as a journalist last year and studied English and history at university, with a particular interest in medieval London.
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