The type of vehicle a London cab driver chooses can drastically affect their exposure to pollution, a university survey has found.
King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group looked into the amount of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide that taxi drivers were exposed to inside and outside their working environments.
It discovered that during a standard shift, drivers of diesel taxis were exposed to pollution levels 1.8 times higher than for those driving an electric vehicle.
Ten London taxi drivers were recruited for the study, with each given a portable monitor to measure black carbon – the fine particulates generated from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuel. This was aided by further nitrogen dioxide monitoring units. Five of the vehicles were LEVC’s all-electric TX taxi, while the other half were traditional diesel TX4 vehicles.
In all, more than 390 hours of taxi drivers’ air pollution data was recorded and analysed.
More support and charging points needed
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “London’s taxi drivers know all too well how crucial it is we tackle air pollution. One of the worst places to breathe in the city’s dirty air is stuck in traffic, behind the wheel of a cab.
“Taxi drivers are keen to switch to the cleaner cab – and nearly 600 already have – but there’s more that Transport for London and the Mayor can do to help.
‘We need a realistic decommissioning scheme, and TfL must work with the boroughs to install more rapid charging points for taxis. Drivers need to feel confident when buying the taxi that they can charge it wherever they are in London and get back to work as quickly as possible.”