Taxi operators in Manchester fear that the launch of new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) tariffs will mark the end of their career in the town.
There will be chaos among taxis across the area when the CAZ comes into effect on 30th May, this year.
It’s the objective of the charge area to reduce the number of cars contaminating the roads in the area.
Essentially, this means that anybody driving a car in Greater Manchester will need to part with an everyday fee to drive if they do not pass the emissions standards.
The strategy doesn’t contain any private autos. Coaches, HGVs, and buses must part with £60 per day and vans will need to pay £10. The private hire vehicles and taxis will need to part with £7.50 each.
There will be a £120 fine in case of a missed payment. Some of the area’s highways have already witnessed the first hints of the zone’s implementation by use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
Taxi operators in the center of the city have responded with anger to the CAZ. Many have already quit their jobs even before the enforcement date because they are worried about how these changes will affect them and the industry.
While waiting in the cab rank outside Manchester Victoria place, Stockport black taxi driver Nazar Shaw points to his taximeter. There are not so many jobs available, and he’s only making approximately £4 for every trip.
The 65-year-old man who has been working as a taxi driver for 13 years says that with the £7.50 charge per day, he would be paying more than $200 a month. “A yearly calculation comes to approximately £3,000,” he said.
Apart from the charges, Nazar comments about the new electric taxis. He says they are expensive, going for up to £70k, yet their batteries can only cover a few miles.
It is for this reason that cab drivers are looking for menial jobs in factories. Working for 10 office hours is preferable to earning £50 per day, as it would all be used up buying gas and paying the clean air zone levy.
Notably, local businesses, residents, and organizations in Greater Manchester will receive approximately £120 million in government funds to help them purchase cleaner vehicles.
Additionally, the Clean Air Zone Financial Support Scheme has been developed to assist drivers in purchasing or retrofitting noncompliant vehicles that do not comply with emission regulations.
More awareness is needed by campaigners about the CAZ, particularly among the many traders who would be most impacted by it.