The cost of Uber's licence to operate in London has quietly been increased by Transport for London

 
Lynsey Barber
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Uber Drivers Present Petition To Transport For London
The cost of running a minicab firm in London is going up (Source: Getty)

Uber's cost of operating in London is set to rise even further after the transport regulator pushed forward with new plans that are set to add nearly £1m to its bill.

Transport for London is now planning to charge a maximum fee of £2.9m for the largest mincab firms to operate in the capital, it can be revealed, amending its original plans to increase it to £166,000.

Read more: Uber prices are going up in parts of London to boost driver earnings

It has also quietly backed down on a proposal to charge a £68 fee per car for any firm with more than 1,000 vehicles after a backlash from the industry.

The changes were made after the industry warned that the extra costs would put small and medium sized firms out of business, meaning the larger operators such as Uber and Addison Lee will now pay more and just a few of the smallest will pay less.

The troubled startup would have been charged just over the £2m mark, based on the number of cars it has, but will now have to pay the maximum £2.9m fee for operators with more than 10,000 vehicles. And Addison Lee is now expected to foot a bill more than twice as much as under the original "per car" plans, as operators running between 1,001 and 10,000 cars will be charged £700,000. A further 10 operators with between 500 and 1,000 cars will have to pay £350,000.

The current fee is just £2,800 for any operator with more than 1,000 cars, but TfL has said it must change in order to cover the costs of a huge rise in the number of minicabs on the road. The changes are expected to bring in millions more as it becomes self sufficient after losing government subsidies, but it has warned that it still faces a shortfall.

It estimates more than 1,500 operators in total with fewer than 500 cars will be negatively impacted, paying between £3,174 and £157,000 in additional costs over five years. 400 with less than 10 cars will pay £826 less.

The details of the changes were quietly revealed among documents published with TfL's latest finance committee meeting last week and also include the date they are likely to be implemented - 1 April 2018.

Uber and Addison Lee have had their operating licences renewed in the short-term while TfL makes the changes, for four and six months respectively. But both will face a second renewal before the changes comes into force.

Uber's is due to be renewed at the end of September and Transport for London faces mounting pressure over the matter. And with a six month extension like Addison Lee was recently given, TfL faces potentially having to renew Uber's for a third time.

Read more: Taxify boss criticises TfL after botched launch of Uber rival

In the pushback against Uber's permission to operate in London, drivers represented by GMB union will on Monday deliver a petition signed by 100,000 people calling on the Mayor of London to ensure worker rights and that public safety is protected. Another group, United Private Hire Drivers, has written to Transport for London calling on it to make workers rights a condition of renewal. Both groups are threatening legal action against the regulator and the latter plans to stage a protest outside TfL at the end of September, when Uber's appeal against a legal ruling on workers rights is due to kick off.

Last week a group of cross-party MPs involved in the taxi all-party parliamentary group (APPG) yesterday called for TfL to revoke Uber's licence over safety concerns.

Update: TfL have now confirmed the change to fees will be introduced from this week.

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