Updated: Sep 6, 2021
The capital's iconic black taxis are free from Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charges, unlike private hire vehicles, due to their specialist design, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said.
When asked why London licensed private hire drivers were not offered a six-month exemption from charges once the ULEZ expansion comes into place, similar to what is offered to those driving taxis and PHVs in Greater Manchester, Khan highlighted the fact that black taxis are exempt because of their unique build unlike those vehicles used for private hire work.
Discussing the ongoing debate on whether all taxi and private hire vehicles should be granted exemption from ULEZ charges, Khan said: "Emissions from London's black cabs are controlled by Transport for London's (TfL) taxi vehicle licensing requirements rather than the ULEZ. This is because they are specially designed, wheelchair accessible vehicles that need to meet a wide range of technical standards, making them harder to replace than ordinary vehicles."
He went on to add that private hire vehicles are not exempt because they are much easier to replace, with drivers having a much bigger pool of vehicles to choose from. He also highlighted the fact that "PHVs tend to be younger so are more likely to meet the standards".
From 25 October 2021 the ULEZ boundary will be expanded from central London to create a single larger zone up to the North and South Circular Roads.
The North and South Circular Roads are not in the expanded zone. Vehicles using these roads and not going into the ULEZ will not be charged. If you are driving any petrol or diesel vehicle within the expansion you will also need to meet the tighter emissions standards or pay a daily charge.
This daily charge is in addition to the Congestion Charge if you drive in central London as well.
PHV's that do not meet the emissions standards and are not wheelchair-accessible must pay the full ULEZ charge to drive within the zone.
Designated wheelchair-accessible PHVs will be granted a grace period until 26 October 2025 - during this period designated wheelchair-accessible PHVs used to carry out a private hire booking will be exempt from the ULEZ daily charge.
These vehicles will only be exempt when carrying out a private hire booking for a TfL-licensed PHV operator. At all other times PHV owners will have to pay the charge if their designated wheelchair-accessible PHV does not meet the emissions standards and is not in the disabled or disabled passenger vehicle tax class.