Minicab association calls for new Operator fees structure to be based on numbers of drivers or vehicles rather than the fixed bands recently introduced by Transport for London.
LPHCA Chairman Steve Wright, alongside other industry representatives, met with senior officials at TfL to discuss a proposal for re-structuring London Operator’s licensing fees based on numbers of drivers/vehicles, rather than the current fixed bands structure, which sees a 100 vehicle fleet pay £30,000 and a 101 vehicle fleet pay £150,000. This proposal was originally rejected by TfL prior to the LPHCA’s legal challenge but following an LPHCA emergency meeting in the summer and subsequent dialogue with Members, it was agreed to put forward some outline figures to TfL and yesterday proposals were discussed with senior TfL representatives. Those figures have also been supplied to the Greater London Authority following the LPHCA giving evidence to the London Assembly Transport Committee at City Hall in earlier this month. According to the LPHCA, proposal for Operator fees to be based on the number of drivers/vehicles a company has, is much fairer, as it shares the regulatory cost of compliance more proportionally. Also utilising a structure based on numbers of drivers/vehicles rather than fixed bands is not a proposal specific to London, as the LPHCA advocates this method across the country too. The private hire representatives accept that TfL (and other licensing authorities) need to raise enough money to meet licensing and compliance costs, but believe that the evidence now shows that PHV Operator numbers continue to decline in London and is now very clear the damage that the current system has done. Following a meeting with TfL and LPHCA a spokesperson from the minicab operator representatives said “there is real hope that we can progress to formal proposals.
“We will continue dialogue with the Competition & Marketing Authority, the Department for Transport, the Small Business Commission, the Greater London Authority Transport Committee and other politicians, until an appropriate Operator Fees structure is in place. “Since our update article called ‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn’ was published in the Autumn 2018 edition of Private Hire News, where we announced what other avenues we were exploring, we can confirm that the LPHCA are still just as committed to finding an adequate solution to the Operator Fees project. “Despite the news that the High Court had ruled against our legal challenge, this has paved the way for positive dialogue with TfL. However, the LPHCA are still in £60,000 deficit as we’ve had to pay for TfL’s legal fees and will need loans to make the final payment. Our ‘fighting fund’ is still very much active and still needs your support.”