Thursday 6 September 2018 5:52 pm

London Assembly votes against mayor's plan to remove congestion charge exemption for private hires

The London Assembly has voted down Sadiq Khan's plans to remove the congestion charge exemption from private hire vehicles (PHVs) operating in the capital such as Uber.

Sixteen assembly members voted for the motion against the mayor's proposals, while three voted against it and two members abstained. 

Taxis and PHVs are exempt from paying the congestion charge when actively licensed with London Taxi and Private Hire (TPH) and under private hire bookings.

The mayor wanted to remove the charge exemption from PHV to reduce congestion. However, critics said the policy would fail to reduce congestion and could increase fares by 16 per cent as operators cover the cost of the charge.

GLA Conservatives leader Gareth Bacon said: “The fact that Assembly Members have united to vote against this flawed policy speaks volumes.

“This policy is nothing more than a smokescreen – it won’t have any real impact on London’s congestion problem and Sadiq Khan knows it. The mayor has blown a £1bn black hole in the transport budget and now he wants to fleece the PHV industry to boost the coffers.

“It’s not only the PHV industry that will suffer from this reckless policy; increased costs will be passed on to customers to pay in higher fares. The Mayor’s own figures show that fares could rise by up to 16 percent, which would hit the elderly and disabled people who rely heavily on this affordable form of transport particularly hard.

Steve Wright chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) said: “It would be a catastrophic mistake to remove the Congestion Charge Exemption from Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) in London.

“This idea is fatally flawed and the mayor should do the right thing and immediately withdraw the proposal."