London Mayor announces plans for 100 new London taxi ranks

The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has revealed plans to increase taxi ranks in London from 500 to 600 over the next four years, the Evening Standard reports.

The plans will also include allowing cabbies to use an additional 20 bus lanes.

In order to enable applicants to apply for study loans, Khan also wants to make The Knowledge test that black cab drivers are required to pass in order to obtain a licence accredited as a formal qualification.

To help promote the use of black cabs, by summer 2017 taxi information will feature in Transport for London's (TfL's) online journey planners.

There is also a scheme to help reduce pollution, with grants worth up to £5,000 available from next year to black cab drivers who scrap the oldest and most polluting taxis.

It is believed that the plans are part of Khan's intention to go ahead with new rules for private hire drivers.

Part of the new rules caused some controversy as they will require drivers to pass an English test. However, Uber has won the right to take TfL to court over the language stipulation.

The rules also include more robust insurance regulations and giving customers driver and vehicle details, including a photo of the driver, before the start of each journey.

Discussing the plans, Khan commented: "Our new taxi and private hire action plan will help us deliver a truly world-class service for Londoners and create a vibrant taxi and private hire market where all providers can continue to flourish.

"From my first day at City Hall I have been determined to drive up standards and improve safety for every passenger in London, while protecting the future of our iconic black cabs that provide a unique and invaluable services for Londoners."

Deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross, also highlighted the significance in boosting public safety with the new measures.

She went on to note: "New measures, such as opening up extra bus lanes and increasing the number of taxi ranks will help ensure our black cabs continue to thrive, and our proposals also include ground-breaking incentives to create the greenest taxi fleet in the world."

Black cabs are set to receive £65m from the taxpayer, while licensed private hire drivers will face extra costs and red tape.

As a result, Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, has criticised the plan, saying: "These proposals favour black cabs and discriminate against drivers who use apps like Uber."

According to TfL, the Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan 2016 is already underway, and meetings will provide the taxi and private hire trades with regular updates.

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