London Uber users could be in for a fare hike as the capital’s transport authority is pondering to increase the company’s operating licence from £2.800 to £2 million over five years.
Transport for London (TfL) is reassessing its rules on licensing for minicab operators: right now, every company in London pays the same fee regardless of how many cars they deploy. That means that so far Uber— whose fleet of freelance drivers comprises over 30,000 vehicles— pays the same licence as a mom-and-pop operation with a couple of cabs.
TfL decided to carry out the review after the rise of new players such as Uber, Addison Lee and Lyft triggered a 74 percent jump in the number of vehicles on the road since 2014.
That has resulted in a work overload for TfL, which has to enforce minicab regulation in the city: the authority estimates that the cost of that enforcement is going to hit £30 million over the next five years. Previous estimates were of only £4 million. Hence the proposal for a heftier licence .
“It is only fair that licence fees for private hire operators accurately reflect the costs of enforcement and regulating the trade,” TfL general manager for taxis and private hire Helen Chapman told City A.M.
“The changes to fees would also enable us to fund additional compliance officers to help crackdown on illegal and dangerous activity.”
The new rules would require operators with over 1,000 vehicles to pay £167,000 plus £68 per car. Uber’s licence is scheduled for renewal next month, although it is not clear whether the new rules will come into force by then.
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