An extension to the Congestion Charging zone would be a ‘complete catastrophe’ for the private hire industry according to trade representatives.
It has been widely reported that the Congestion Charge zone in London may be extended to the North and South Circular roads as part of Transport for London’s bail-out conditions with the Government.
Steve Wright MBE, Chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), has described the move as ‘a complete catastrophe’ for minicab firms and drivers.
Wright MBE said: “Any expansion of the Congestion Charge zone couldn’t come at a worse time for Londoners, and in particular the Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) industry, following the severe hardship inflicted by the current pandemic.
“PHVs have kept London and the country moving through this difficult time and further taxes in the form of a Congestion Charge zone expansion will not only add insult to injury, but will be a complete catastrophe for our industry.
“I call on the decision makers in Government and Transport for London to carefully consider this issue and come up with proposals that benefit London’s economy, rather than hinder it.”
Minicab drivers did not have to pay the Congestion Charge until as recently as last year. However, on 8 April 2019 the Congestion Charge exemption was removed.
The LPHCA are continuing their calls for the 86,000 currently licensed minicabs to be exempt from the Congestion Charge in the capital, as they claim that the mode of transport helps reduce car ownership and dependency on private cars.
London’s fully wheelchair accessible fleet of licensed black cabs are exempt from paying the charge. The same wheelchair access exemption also applies to private hire vehicles.
From 22 June 2020, temporary changes were made to the Congestion Charge scheme to ensure it remained effective in reducing the use of cars in central London. As a result, private hire vehicles entering the Congestion Charge zone between 07:00 and 22:00, currently pay the £15 daily charge.