Taxi card

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2009-06-14
Session date: 
June 14, 2009
Reference: 
2009/0084
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

Question

What impact will the freezing of the TfL contribution to Taxi card have on the Boroughs?

Answer

Answer for Taxi card

Answer for Taxi card

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

I think the answer is that the taxi card scheme has not been scaled back and therefore there is no impact on the boroughs; that is my answer. I am going to ask Peter to amplify.

Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL): Yes, we have got a provision. I was in discussion with Daniel Moylan, the Chair of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee on this just before Christmas. What we clarified with him is that the funding for 2008/09 is forecast at £11 million and we have a provision for 2009/10 of £12.7 million. The precise level of taxi card funding depends on the level of usage. He agreed with us that on that basis that level of funding is agreed by both London Councils and TfL to be sufficient to meet forecast demand and therefore, there will not be any effective restriction in 2009/10.

Navin Shah (AM): I accept that situation, Mr Mayor, but are you actually seeking to cap funding beyond 2010? That is really the question we have.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): There is a big issue here, Navin, at the heart of this whole taxi card issue, which is that demand is very, very considerable and growing and we have to have some idea of where the limits are. As I understand it funding for 2008/09 is forecast to be £11 million and there is going to be provision for £12.7 million in 2009/10, so it is still going up.

Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL): If I may, we have to have a longer term discussion with London Councils because the revenue budget is subject to the spending review beyond 2009/10, which is inflated at 2.7%. The contribution, if you go back in time originally TfL put in no money at all. We are now putting in roughly £12 million or so to the boroughs £7 million and both we, London Councils and the boroughs all know that the demand for both this service and Dial-A-Ride could be literally almost limitless. We do have to discuss with them beyond 2009/10 how we get a funding formula but for both Dial-A-Ride and Taxi card and Capital Call for that matter, which is affordable, which is reasonable and which respects the boroughs' primary responsibility for Taxi card funding because it is their scheme.

Navin Shah (AM): Let me ask, Mr Mayor, a fundamental issue about principle behind the issue of Taxi cards. Isn't there a major problem that as a result of capping or cuts in TfL funding for Taxi cards, a) the Councils will end up with additional financial burden they can least afford and moreover disabled people across London will be getting poor and reduced level of service. Do you, Mr Mayor, want to inflict misery of this nature and hit Londoners hard who should really be protected?

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): Navin, as I understand it we are not cutting. We are growing.

Navin Shah (AM): You are not cutting now but certainly the indication I have had before, and what is being told now, certainly shows the direction as though we have no obligation to support the Councils in Taxi card scheme. I certainly feel that this is really a direction which is not acceptable and you will be hitting the most vulnerable in London.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): Well I am not going to accept that because we are increasing our funding for the Taxi card scheme and what we are simply pointing out is that there have got somewhere to be limits to that growth.

Navin Shah (AM): Are you therefore saying that this growth will continue beyond 2010 until which time we have this contract?

Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL): If I may, I think that this has to be something which is approached jointly between the Boroughs, London Councils and ourselves. When we started, Taxi card was £7 million across London and wholly funded by the Boroughs. As it currently stands the TfL provision will be up to £12.7 million in the next financial year with the borough contributions still roughly at the level at which they were when we started.

Navin Shah (AM): Sorry, I am short of time. Can I ask a specific question. I am aware, and I hope the Mayor is aware, that London Councils have set about looking at this in detail. They have come up with three or four options. Can I have a response from the Mayor as to whether he has got a preference or priority in terms of which option might be acceptable to him?

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): Navin, since we are short of time can I make this quick. I will look at the four options which I have not yet seen and we will revert to you on our view.

Navin Shah (AM): Well I would appreciate that because I am not prepared to find us in a situation whereby the London Assembly is hitting hard on the most vulnerable in our community, disabled and elderly people.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): I understand and you are quite right to make this point. It does matter a great deal. It is just that there is a difficulty because of the shared sovereignty over the scheme between us and London Councils and the second difficulty is the potential expenditure on this is very, very considerable. There has got to be some sensible way of limiting it.

Navin Shah (AM): Well let us hope you come up with an acceptable answer. Thank you.