The Licensed Private Hire Car Association are fighting in court against Transport for London’s re-structured operator fees that were introduced in October 2017.
On February 6th 2018, the LPHCA’s challenge in the High Court was escalated to a Judicial Review. During this process, the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body can be examined. Mr Justice Dingeman’s cited grounds of ‘improper purpose’ and ‘sufficiency of information relating to the consultation’ as his reasons for granting the review on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018.
The new fees mean that many of London’s private hire operators face huge increases in their costs. LPHCA Chairman Steve Wright has described the measures, as “potty proposals.” Recent months have seen over 40 of London’s operators close for business, and the enormous rise in the cost of regulation has been blamed by many in the industry.
The LPHCA has launched a fighting fund, to cover the costs of the legal fees. Over 50 LPHCA Members, Operators and Industry Suppliers have already generously provided donations of £153,995. However, the fundraising needs to continue as the costs are rising. The ultimate target is £200,000 and the LPHCA are urging anyone within the industry who can donate to the cause, to do so, ASAP.
Donations can be made via the LPHCA website.
Wright sees the victory as being essential to the long-term survival of many PHO’s in London. It’s his belief that the new fees will decimate many smaller operators. Uber (if they’re relicensed) and Addison Lee, to whom the fees will be trivial to by way of comparison, will stand to profit the most. They will be able to take full advantage of any closures by smaller operators and gain further market share and with it larger influence.
If the fees are not challenged successfully it is the LPHCA’s opinion that TfL will see it as a green light to proceed with several additional measures. They are currently consulting on many proposals, some of which are listed below. Their introduction could significantly affect a London private hire driver’s ability to earn a living:
- Proposals to remove the Congestion Charge exemption for London PHV drivers
- English Language tests
- Additional mandatory fleet insurance
- Enhanced topographical tests
- Extra driver training
- Calls to abolish the 2-tier system
- Installing CCTV’s in every PHV & Taxi
- Only being able to pick up or drop off journeys starting or finishing in your licensed area
Don’t forget, if you want to oppose the new operator licensing fees or the possibility of the above regulations being introduced, you can contribute to the “Fighting Fund” via the LPHCA website. In the meatime, we will be publishing further progress updates.