London minicab firms threaten TfL with legal action over PHV licence fee cost increase

 
Lynsey Barber
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Minicab firms now have to pay more to be on London's roads (Source: Getty)

Minicab firms are threatening legal action against Transport for London after it increased the cost of being licenced in the capital.

The industry group representing more than 200 operaters in London has said it will launch legal action against the regulator, warning that the steep rise in costs would put some of them out of business

London mayor Sadiq Khan defended the decision to increase the fees, telling London Assembly members today that he had to cover the cost of compliance and enforcement. "I'm reassured their [TfL's] proposals are good ones," he said when quized on the matter at Mayor's question time.

Read more: Uber licence legal appeal "will take its course", says London mayor

The exact amount of the increase was first revealed by City A.M. last month, with changes made to the fee structure after a consultation with the industry.

Increased fees for the largest operators such as Uber and Addison Lee were welcomed, however, TfL itself said that more than 1,000 small and medium operators will be "negatively impacted" by the change. In a review of the change it also noted it could reduce competition in the market.

The fee for operators with fewer than 500 cars has risen to between £3,174 and £157,000, depending on the exact number, up from just £2,800 previously.

The Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) has now threatened that it will seek a judicial review if the fees, already introduced last month, are not reconsidered.

“If TfL sticks to these plans, hundreds of operators in London will go bust and thousands of jobs will be lost. Those operators that do survive will be forced to increase costs to hard working drivers and raise their prices so ordinary Londoners and drivers will suffer," said the group's leader and former TfL board member Steve Wright.

Read more: Khan: London is tech city in spite of Uber dispute

“TfL should engage properly with operators and think again as London Private Hire Operators, drivers and passengers must not pick up the cost for shortfalls in the TfL budget."

Khan also noted another review of fess will take place next year, leaving the door open for further increases.

Uber, if it regains its licence, will pay nearly £3m under the new fee structure while Addison Lee will pay £700,000, and a further 10 larger firms will pay £350,000.

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