The GMB are heavily against a proposal to re-open consultation which could change exemption from the Congestion Charge for private hire drivers in London.
Transport for London is looking to introduce the £11.50 charge due to the explosion in numbers over the last few years. This has affected the air quality and and congestion in London. It may also be seen as a way of capping the amount of private hire drivers licensed as the government continues to refuse to look at numbers. Tom Moody, the head of policy for Taxi and Private Hire at TfL, said in October 2017 “We will be looking at the congestion charge potentially for private hire" in the coming months. This will be seen as a further setback to minicab operators like Uber who compete in the crowded transport market by offering cheap rights over quality. It is estimated that the Congestion Charge will cost Uber drivers upwards of £20 million each year.
The GMB today warned that businesses maybe forced to leave the capital if the charge came into force.
Steve Garelick, GMB Regional Officer said: “TfL have announced this morning that they intend to reinitiate a consultation on private hire vehicle congestion charging. “Mayor Ken Livingstone brought in the exemption for private hire based on the widely held view that this was a public transportation medium. “A charge would primarily affect drivers who in effect would face a further tax on their incomes. “Individuals who rely on private hire trade as an example to reach hospital appointments or perhaps loved ones. “Drivers though will be the put in to further poverty and expense by increased rent or commission fees. “This is also a flag for drivers to choose licensing authorities who charge less fees and cannot be stopped by TfL enforcement when carrying out what cross border work. “An example would be an operator based in Berkshire using an app and drivers to carry out London bookings and still paying the same congestion without any of the same levels of licensing or enforcement as TfL officers would have no jurisdiction on out of area drivers. “This plan that is claimed to be another ‘consultation’ will cause more damage to traffic and emission levels. “It will also force private hire companies out of London costing jobs.”