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Removing Congestion Charge exemption could inflate minicab prices 16%

Sadiq Khan’s plans to remove Congestion Charge exemption from private hire vehicles (PHVs) will drive up fares for customers without actually tackling congestion.

Congestion Charge signage on Millbank

Ending Congestion Charge exemption for PHVs could hike up prices

That’s the view of London Assembly members who are calling on the major to rethink his “flawed policy”.

Khan’s proposals were announced earlier this year, including plans to replace the current Ultra-Low Emission discount, which allows vehicles emitting 75g/km CO2 or less to enter the zone for free, provided they meet Euro 6 emissions limits, with a new Cleaner Vehicle Discount. Only pure electric vehicles would qualify for the discount – which would take effect from October 2021 and only remain in place until 2026 as part of steps towards a Zero Emission Zone in central London; neither hybrids nor PHEVs would qualify.

TfL said removing the current Congestion Charge exemption would cut PHV traffic by 45%, cutting congestion, reducing emissions and improving access for buses.

However, according to the London Assembly, minicab fares could rise by 16%, as operators would have to cover the cost of paying the Congestion Charge.

Steve Wright, chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), added: “TfL’s own research predicts that there would be very little if any reductions in congestion, in fact we believe there will be more, alongside increased overheads for the travelling public and Londoners.

“This idea is fatally flawed and the Mayor should do the right thing and immediately withdraw the proposal.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.