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Last year the United Private Hire Drivers exposed the sweetheart deals TfL has with licensed operators which sees Uber and Addison Lee paying just £500 per annum to TfL while sub-minimum wage private hire drivers contribute 68% of combined taxi and private hire driver revenue budget while operators currently only pay in 8%.
While UPHD are glad TfL has gone some way towards evening up the score with its current operator license fees proposals, the plans are still shockingly inequitable. Before, one might have excused the fee structure as a legacy problem but, if the current proposals go ahead, we can say TfL discriminates by design. Private hire drivers will still be paying in far more than their fair share and remain excluded from the TfL TPH stakeholder process.
TfL says an annual audit of Uber's license costs it £500,000 per annum but its current proposal is to collect only £440,000 from Uber and that is before TfL's overhead costs, let alone supporting the cost of compliance for Uber's 30,000 drivers and vehicles. The situation is no better at Addison Lee.
Uber extracts around 50% of driver net operating profits but while TfL has Uber paying just £14.71 per car and driver in license fees (up from just £0.02 before) its drivers will continue to pay TfL £183.40 per annum.
Overall, if TfL plans are implemented, PH drivers will be paying in twice as much as licensed operators while getting just half of the operating profits from operators.
The UPHD are proposing a much simpler and fairer license fee structure for private hire drivers and operators including a 35% reduction in PH driver licensing fees to even the balance.