The new licence fee structure for private hire operators is lawful says judge as Transport for London wins its High Court battle against the Licensed Private Hire Car Association.
London’s regulator brought in the changes in October 2017, but was swiftly challenged by private hire representatives. Concerns surrounding the increased fees could mean smaller operators are hit hardest as they struggle for market share.
The increase in fees range from between £3,174 and £2,897,174 for a 5-year licence, which had previously cost just £2,826.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: “Our number one priority is the safety of the public, which is why when faced with the huge growth of the private hire industry it was appropriate to ensure our regulatory and enforcement capabilities grew too. We robustly defended our position in court and welcome the court’s decision that the changes we made to the licence fee structure for private hire operators are lawful. The changes to the fees fund an additional 250 compliance officers who do a crucial job in driving up standards and ensuring Londoners remain safe.”
Steve Wright MBE Chairman of the LPHCA said: “It is regrettable the LPHCA has needed to ask the High Court to determine the legality, or otherwise, of Transport for London’s new ‘Private Hire Operator Licence Fees’. Our challenge was founded on questions surrounding the sufficiency of information during the consultation and whether fees were set for an improper purpose. In handing-down its judgement today, we are disappointed the Court has found in favour of Transport for London. In light of the decision, and the ongoing impact on the wider trade, the LPHCA will focus its efforts elsewhere, by firstly seeking an open dialogue with TfL on a potential review of the current fees, now the overall regulatory impact is much clearer.”