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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:46 pm 
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Certainly seems to have generated a wee bit of publicity and wider comment.

On the other hand, this piece in the Scottish edition of the Times has latched on to the same issue that maybe stood out for me as something that it was maybe a misjudgement to highlight in the public domain. But who knows...

But maybe the (brief) comments below from Dougie McPherson of Glasgow Taxis Limited are something of a damage limitation exercise in PR terms?

But I'd guess some drivers would have preferred that the issue hadn't been aired in public :?

(Potentially confusingly, Glasgow's evening newspaper which used to be called the Evening Times (I think) more recently rebranded itself as simply the Glasgow Times. But this is actually from the Scottish edition of the Times of London, ie the well known international newspaper of record.)


Taxi drivers in Glasgow’s LEZ switching off retrofitted exhausts

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/glas ... -02jgx9j9p

The exhausts, which convert toxic nitrogen oxide into a harmless gas, are expensive to install and many have now become faulty

Taxi drivers are avoiding fines in Glasgow’s low emission zone by removing or switching off retrofitted exhausts, it has been claimed.

Drivers who paid thousands to retrofit their polluting cars later found that the systems caused problems or stopped working altogether.

The drivers then turn off the retrofit systems, which convert toxic nitrogen oxide into a harmless gas, but still continue to drive a “compliant” car.

The loophole was discussed in a new podcast, Talking Taxis, during an episode about the low emission zone (LEZ) in Glasgow city centre. “There’s vehicles now driving about with retrofit exhausts on them that are switched off,” David Farrell, a taxi driver, told the podcast.

Fellow driver John Lundie added: “The engines that have been retrofitted are now developing a number of problems. Some people have managed to switch it off.”

The drivers said the costs of retrofits have soared beyond what was originally covered in a government grant.

The only garage in Glasgow which installed retrofits has also stopped doing so, forcing taxi operators to travel to Chester and Liverpool for the service, the podcast said.

Taxi drivers have until June 1, 2024, to ensure their vehicle is compliant with the LEZ, after securing an extension. The Glasgow LEZ came into force in June 2023.

Diesel-powered vehicles registered after September 2015 and petrol vehicles registered after January 2006 will meet the required standards.

Any motorist caught entering the zone in a non-compliant vehicle will be fined £60. Retrofitting is intended to improve air quality and comes with sensors to monitor emissions.

The Scottish government poured more than £1 million into a retrofit fund for small taxi owners operating in Edinburgh and Glasgow so that older vehicles could meet LEZ standards. Grants of up to £10,000 were available to cover up to 80 per cent of the cost of a retrofit system.

In December 2021, figures from Glasgow city council showed that 1,024 taxis were not compliant with the LEZ. Current data shows that more than 300 taxis still don’t meet the emission requirements and will not be able to drive in the city centre after the June deadline.

Dougie McPherson, who is also chairman of Glasgow Taxis Ltd, and spoke on the podcast, told The Times that the government has promised to consider applications for taxis to continue operating beyond the deadline if they prove that they are “working towards” becoming compliant. He added that if drivers are switching their retrofit systems off it is a “temporary measure” before repairs are available.

In 2021, efforts to retrofit diesel buses were found to be unreliable and even risked increasing harmful emissions. More than £12 million was set aside to “green” 756 buses. However, documents released by Transport Scotland revealed that reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions deteriorated significantly in many retrofitted buses. The Times also reported that sensors which capture real-time emissions were recording incomplete data.

The claim that taxi drivers were avoiding fines by turning off their retrofitted systems comes after almost 1,400 drivers who breached the LEZ have avoided fines after the council took too long to issue them.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:47 pm 
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The Times Scotland wrote:
Taxi drivers are avoiding fines in Glasgow’s low emission zone by removing or switching off retrofitted exhausts, it has been claimed.

That's a strange way to kick off the article, and mischaracterises what's going on, in my opinion.

I suppose it's not literally inaccurate, but makes it sound more of a scam or cheat than it really is [-(


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:48 pm 
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This is the AI version :?

Can't be bothered going through all of this. But, for example, the highlighted bit makes it sound like the 'financial burden' of installing the retrofit systems was bypassed in the first place. And like the Times piece also makes it sound like too much of a cheat by drivers, I'd say...


Glasgow Taxi Drivers Circumvent LEZ Fines by Disabling Green Tech

https://bnnbreaking.com/world/europe/gl ... green-tech

Taxi drivers in Glasgow bypass fines in the low emission zone by disabling exhaust systems, challenging the city's air quality goals.

In a recent revelation, taxi drivers in Glasgow have been found to sidestep fines in the city's low emission zone (LEZ) by turning off or removing expensive retrofitted exhaust systems.

These systems, designed to reduce harmful emissions, have reportedly caused operational issues or ceased functioning, prompting drivers to disable them while continuing to operate vehicles deemed 'compliant' on paper. The loophole came to light in the 'Talking Taxis' podcast, highlighting concerns over air quality and regulatory enforcement in Glasgow's LEZ.

Glasgow's Low Emission Zone Controversy

Introduced to improve air quality, Glasgow's LEZ mandates that only vehicles meeting specific emission standards can operate within the zone without incurring fines. To comply, many taxi drivers invested in retrofit exhaust systems that convert toxic nitrogen oxide emissions into harmless gases.

However, according to taxi drivers David Farrell and John Lundie, who spoke on the 'Talking Taxis' podcast, these retrofit systems have become a source of frustration. Drivers face dilemmas as malfunctioning systems force them to choose between costly repairs and disabling the technology to maintain their livelihood.

The core of the problem lies in the retrofit technology itself. While it promises an eco-friendly solution on paper, the reality has been less than ideal for many drivers. The financial burden of installing these systems, coupled with their subsequent operational issues, has led some to bypass the technology altogether.

This action raises questions about the effectiveness of Glasgow's LEZ in achieving its environmental goals and the fairness of imposing such financial burdens on taxi drivers, many of whom are self-employed and facing significant economic pressures.

Looking Ahead: Implications for Glasgow's Air Quality Goals

This situation underscores a critical challenge in urban environmental policy: balancing ambitious air quality goals with the practical realities faced by those on the front lines.

As Glasgow strives to become a greener city, the effectiveness of its LEZ hinges not only on stringent regulations but also on the reliability of the technology deployed and the support provided to those affected by these changes. Without addressing these issues, the city risks undermining both the trust of its citizens and the long-term success of its environmental initiatives.

The revelation about taxi drivers disabling retrofit systems to avoid LEZ fines in Glasgow exposes a significant loophole in the city's efforts to combat air pollution. It prompts a broader discussion on the need for more robust support systems for taxi drivers, the reliability of green technologies, and the importance of ensuring that environmental policies are both effective and equitable. As Glasgow moves forward, finding solutions that align the city's environmental aspirations with the realities of those on the ground will be crucial.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:49 pm 
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Photo used by The Times is too big for the forum, but this it here.

Not very exciting, but as per other photos from elsewhere can never understand why they'd blur the numberplate but not the taxi plate :-s

https://archive.is/CKulc/0f521a0d0e1e9b ... 06a966.jpg


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:34 pm 
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The LEZ road markings in Dundee are starting to wear out before enforcement of the zone has even started =D> :-s

https://wpcluster.dctdigital.com/wp-con ... 40x564.jpg

https://wpcluster.dctdigital.com/wp-con ... 6x1023.jpg

https://wpcluster.dctdigital.com/wp-con ... 40x564.jpg


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 6:13 pm 
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Quote:
He added that if drivers are switching their retrofit systems off it is a “temporary measure” before repairs are available.

Good try Dougie, but the horse has bolted on that one. 8-[

That said, despite everyone on TDO being 'fit and proper', I doubt there are many who wouldn't do the same or criticise those that did. :-#

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2024 12:17 am 
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'Dieselgate' comes to mind...

However, the panel made a related point - companies took the grant money to install these retrofits. Where are owners left if the systems fail?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2024 1:59 am 
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Episode 2 is now online:

https://shows.acast.com/talking-taxis/e ... -of-the-ci

Card payments, overcharging and the state of Glasgow are the subjects this time.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2024 4:25 pm 
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And here's me still not finished with the last one :lol:

But maybe best not to revisit that... 8-[

But, in brief, thanks for posting that graphic of the vehicle age profile, Mr XH558, which is something I actually meant to have a look for, but never got round to it.

But that's why I kind of supported the principle of the age rule, but maybe gradually implementing it and bringing it down over a number of years, to smooth the path to a newer fleet and make the implementation less onerous on operators, particularly with lockdown etc.

However, obviously that ship has long since sailed. But, in my opinion, should have been implemented years before lockdown, and to that extent would have totally avoided, (or at least largely avoided) what's been happening over the last few years.

But instead the original plan was effectively to implement an 8/9 year age rule, or thereabouts, in one fell swoop :-o

On the other hand, what's now in place (or soon will be) is in effect a dynamic age rule, in that it's fixed at 2014 (or thereabouts), and thus the maximum age of vehicles allowed will increase with time :?

Unless, of course, they move the goalposts again in future.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2024 2:48 am 
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Before the pre-LEZ cconsultation, Glasgow also had a rule that any cab being brought in had to be no more than 5 years old (alongside the newer-for-older rule). Over time, this maybe led to the unintended consequence of ageing the fleet - the 500 odd owners already running cabs 11 years or older were just as well keeping them. They still can now if they're Euro6 capable.

I think you're right - an age limit (incremental or not) would have achieved the same aims with a lot less grief all round.

As to the latest podcast episode, demanding cash only and opportunistic overcharging don't do cab drivers favours IMO. Customers have long memories and reputation is easily lost. I'd sooner lose 2% or whatever in card commission than gain 100% of nothing.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2024 11:53 am 
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Another good podcast.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2024 10:58 pm 
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Had a listen and again they came across as being well-informed about their area.

Concerning card payments they seem to be avoiding the obvious solution, i.e. mandatory card readers.

Giving taxi drivers a choice is all well and good if it doesn't affect the income of their fellow taxi drivers. But if a punter walks down a rank and the first few don't take cards, they will be straight on the Uber app.

The lads on the podcast know that, so they need to just request the council adopt a mandatory policy. They might get some stick from the Neanderthals, but that's what leadership entails.

It's also worth mentioning that most taxi drivers don't turn down card work because of the % charge, nor because they are worried about the loss of signal. The reason they turn it down is because the job is a local one.

I've never seen a driver turn down a £100 card job.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2024 5:00 am 
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Sussex wrote:
I've never seen a driver turn down a £100 card job.

Bang on, Sussex - it's all about the money, generally, and in effect the 'no-card reader' excuse is very often just a pretence for what's cherry-picking, essentially...*

And, like you, I did notice that nothing was really made about the compulsory readers thing. To be fair, it was mentioned briefly, but you'd think that any discussion of that type would mention the compulsory card payment facilities for quite a few years now in London, not to mention plenty of other locations like Liverpool.

Don't know why that might be, but maybe one factor is that I'm not sure if there are actually any licensing authorities in Scotland that have made them compulsory yet. In fact, a tariff article from Edinburgh last year did mention some of the issues with automated payments, but as I recall it said that it wasn't possible in law to mandate readers.

But to that extent, it would be interesting to examine that argument, because I can't really think of any obvious reason the English legislation means councils can mandate them, while the Scottish legislation means they can't :?

(But, like many other issues, probably no point in the likes of me looking into it in great depth :roll: )

And you'd think at least one of these guys in the podcast would read the trade press etc and be aware of the mandatory card legals elsewhere, and to that extent would have mentioned it. But, of course, even trade bigwigs can be quite parochial :wink:

*Of course, some drivers in the likes of Glasgow won't have readers, so to that extent they will have to knock back the odd £100 job.

But you'd think that when that happens, it would concentrate minds :idea:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2024 8:01 pm 
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In relation to the podcast generally, I feel they might need to widen their agenda to Scotland as a whole, as I'm not convinced a weekly Glasgow only debate is going to be successful long term.

They have not been charged for this advice. 8-[

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2024 1:44 am 
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They could feature other areas as a rolling item - say Edinburgh one week, then Aberdeen or Renfrewshire or whatever. It can be handy to learn what's happening elsewhere.

I've taken card payment from day 1 and don't really get the phobia some drivers have about it. Card and phone payment is the way many people shop for anything these days and SumUp is set to pay into my bank account every week. I'd not have a problem if it became compulsory.

However, I'd hope Glasgow doesn't use the London model of 'approved' terminals - that seems to have created a fresh set of problems down there.


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