Having hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late, ride-hailing app, Uber, are having a disastrous month. Just today, it was announced that their London license will soar. Going from £3,00 to a substantial £3m; this is a fee that many drivers, authorities and individuals are eager to share their opinions on.
Announced by Transport for London (TfL), it will be applied for the next five years, revising the fees they charge private hire operators. With the industry changing shape as innovative technology takes center stage, regulatory bodies such as TfL are more in demand. This mean they are having to find more money to deal with the rising costs of regulation.
Helen Chapman, TfL general manager of Taxi & Private Hire, said:
“There has been a huge growth in the industry in recent years and it is only fair that the license fee reflects the costs of regulation and enforcement.”
But, just how many more private hire operators are we seeing on the roads of the city? Well, according to TfL there were just 65,000 in 2013-14. Today, more than 116,000 occupy London, and in the next five years, regulatory costs to keep drivers operating in a legal manner will hit £30m.
Implementing a new 8-tier structure, TfL will charge operators based on their size, with the bigger the fleet; the more they will inevitably pay for their license. Fees will now start from £2,000 for a five-year license for those operating between 1 and ten vehicles. At the other end of the scale you have operators working with 10,000 vehicles which will be charged close to £3m. This will apply to Uber, the US business that currently has 40,000 drivers in London.
Ms Chapman said: “The safety of Londoners is TfL’s top priority, and the changes to fees will help us fund additional compliance officers who do a crucial job cracking down on illegal and dangerous activity.
“We have listened to the views of stakeholders in the consultation and have amended the fees structure to give small and medium-sized operators more flexibility in how they manage the size of their fleets.”
Though Uber hare yet to issue a statement regarding the increased fees they have previously said that they support any increase that makes the city a safer place; constantly being criticised for bringing more pollution and traffic to the city.
Addison Lee, Uber’s competitors, did however pass comment:
“We recognise that these measures need to be paid for and are grateful that TfL has listened to our consultation response and developed an equitable framework for the charges necessary to cover the enforcement work they will undertake” they said.
In addition, TfL are expected to keep an eye on ride-hailing apps, adjusting various feed as they see fit.
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