Transport for London (TfL) has been implementing new policies left, right and centre of late, putting a great deal of focus on the private hire industry. With disruptive businesses such as Uber are often criticised for making use of the grey areas that separate them from other industries, it seems TfL are on to them!
This week, it has been suggested that private hire businesses such as Uber and Addison Lee could have the London Congestion Charge applied to them. Currently, the rate sits at £11.50-a-day, with the fee applied to drivers that travel through central London between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.
Holding a meeting to discuss the possibility, TfL saw their suggested introduction gain mixed responses.
“It felt like the Valentine’s Day congestion charge massacre,” said one person who attended the meeting.
“This would be a tax on us to raise revenue for TfL.”
One of the biggest backlashes surrounded the consumer. With businesses having to outlay additional costs, these fees with inevitably trickle down to passengers.
Paul Cowperthwaite, general manager of road user charging at TfL, was eager to pass comment.
“We are currently undertaking further analysis on the impact of removing the exemption from the congestion charge for private hire vehicles. Depending on the outcome of this work, a consultation could follow later this year” he said.
With further consultations expected to unfold towards the end of the year, why is the private hire industry under the spotlight yet again? According to sources, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is under pressure to reduce the volume of vehicles travelling through the city. With numbers expected to hit 1bn by 2019, London certainly has to do something in order to position themselves as a green city.This is paired with a need to bring extra sources of income into TfL.
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