Under new measures by Transport for London (TfL), private hire vehicles are set to have their London Congestion Charge exemption status revoked on the 8th April 2019. While London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has declared this move as being the right step towards cleaning up London’s air, it has also been criticised as an attack on low-wage workers.
We’ve created this guide to help private drivers and consumers get a better understanding of the impact these changes are likely to have. While nothing is set in stone, there is a high change that the changes to the London Congestion Charge will have a negative impact for all concerned. To learn more, please read on.
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As it stands, the London Congestion Charge is £11.50 per day. The fee covers the cost of driving through the congestion charge zones from 07:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday. But, it’s important to note that there is not currently a fee to travel through congestion charge zones on the weekends or Christmas day through to New Year’s Day.
However, an analysis by The Independent Workers Union (IWGB) has highlighted that private hire vehicle drivers having to pay the London Congestion Charge could see their pay reduced by as much as 25 percent. Clearly this is a huge blow to the industry and will likely see consumers having to pay more in order to offset the increase in costs for drivers.
While there may not be an instantaneous change to private hire taxis fares, it is anticipated that the new London Congestion Charge rules will begin to impact consumers over time. The GMB Union is fearful that the increase in costs for drivers will be passed on but they are also predicting that some minicab offices will close, reducing the supply of private hire vehicles and therefore further increasing costs for consumers.
The first phase of the plan to lower emissions was introduced in 2003, with only zero-emission vehicles remaining exempt from the congestion charge. However, after 15 years, the TfL is now updating their strategy.
When the next phase of TfL’s changes to the London Congestion Charge takes effect on the 8th of April 2019, there will be some vehicles that will remain exempt from the charges. Vehicles that are capable of achieving zero emissions will remain exempt as will vehicles that are wheelchair accessible, such as Uber XL.
By October 2021, the only vehicles that will qualify for exemption are ‘pure’ electric vehicles and by December 2025 all exemptions will cease.
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