London minicab drivers will continue to pay the capital’s Congestion Charge, the High Court has ruled. Earlier this month private hire driver representatives, the Independent Workers Union (IWGB), said in court that the charging for minicabs in London does "serious harm" to black and ethnic minority (BAME) drivers.
However, judgment from Mr Justice Lewis today, dismissed the IWGB’s claim. This means private hire vehicle drivers in London will have to pay the £11.50 daily charge after the exemption was removed in April.
Mr Justice Lewis said the decision to remove the exemption for minicab drivers was “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, namely the reduction of traffic and congestion within the congestion charge zone without reducing the number of designated wheelchair-accessible vehicles.” He added: “There are no other less-intrusive measures which could realistically achieve the same aim.” Lawyers representing the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the move had been designed to reduce congestion and pollution across London's charging zone. The IWGB argued that removing the exemption from minicabs is tantamount to discrimination against a 94% BAME workforce. The union also believed that because 88% of the licensed London's taxi industry are white and exempt from the charge, it reinforces the perceived discrimination. In his summing up, the judge said Mr Khan’s decision to lift the Congestion Charge exemption on private hire drivers was @an appropriate and suitable method of reducing the number of vehicles in the congestion charge zone”.