TfL Accused of Bias Towards the Black Cab Trade
Congestion ChargingMayor Sadiq Khan confirmed in December that as of April 8th 2019, Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs), will have pay the weekday congestion charge for driving in Central London. Deemed as being urgently needed to reduce the number of vehicles on London’s roads, TfL had made a U-turn on PHV owners, drivers and registered keepers, who have been exempt from paying the Congestion Charge since the zone was introduced by Ken Livingstone’s mayoral administration. While it was accepted that the swift emergence of mobile apps has massively contributed to the rising number of PHV driver numbers and congestion in the capital, the rest of the industry believe they have been penalised for the small number of app operators ‘effectively plying for hire’.
Meanwhile, the Black Taxi exemption has been maintained on the basis that all taxis come with wheelchair accessibility, however, new rules will reduce the maximum taxi age from 15 years to 12 years by 2022.
LPHCA Chair Steve Wright says that “App operators are effectively plying for hire and clogging up the roads. TfL have it within their power to prevent that by fining drivers for entering the CCZ without a prebooked fare. There is no need to penalise the rest of the industry.” pic.twitter.com/8FHsI4g3OD— Plan Insurance (@PlanInsurance) February 6, 2019
ULEZ chargesThe next topic centred around the Ultra Low Emission Zone. From the 8th April 2019, tight exhaust emission standards will be enforced in London and PHVs will be subject to a £12.50 per day ULEZ charge to drive into the capital. This will run concurrently with the congestion charge, meaning drivers could face having to pay up to £24 a day to drive in the congestion zone. Mr Wright pointed out that London Black Cabs will be exempt from this charge, despite recent headlines in the national press regarding research that found some of the most common black cabs emit up to 30 times as much pollution as personal cars the same age. The Mayor’s spokesman said at the time of the decision:
“As part of our bold plans to tackle air pollution, TfL are using the licensing powers they have to clean up London’s black cabs. “From 2018, all new black cabs will have to be zero emission capable – plug-in or hybrid vehicles. TfL are also providing £40 million in funding to help retire older black cabs more quickly.”