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London Assembly supports a continued private hire exemption on Congestion Charge

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has drawn-up plans to remove the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles - but the London Assembly is calling on the mayor to rethink his plans. Private hire vehicles are currently exempted from paying the £11.50 daily charge. The TfL proposal to remove the congestion charge exemption for Private Hire Vehicles, including Uber and minicabs, would be implemented from April 2019. The change would not apply to wheelchair accessible PHVs. TfL said that the number of vehicles entering the zone each day has decreased by around 30% since the congestion charge was introduced in 2003. However, in the meantime, the number of PHVs entering the zone has increased from 4,000 a day to more than 18,000. This isn’t surprising, given that since the arrival of Uber, the number of registered London minicab drivers has risen by 66%. Over the past two years, congestion has increased by 10%. However, the London Assembly earlier this week voted to support the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles. Gareth Bacon AM, who proposed the motion said: “This policy would fail to achieve its primary objective – it would not significantly reduce congestion. The Mayor’s own figures show that the number of PHVs in the Congestion Charge Zone would fall by only 600 a day or 1 percent. “When businesses are hammered prices go up and the data shows that operators would have to increase their charges by up to 16 percent – hitting Londoners’ pockets. “Unfortunately, this policy is just an excuse for the Mayor to raise some of the money he needs to plug the nearly £1 billion black hole in the transport budget. Talk of congestion and pollution is just a smokescreen.”

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