Uber could face higher licence fees in London under new proposals

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 20, 2017

Uber faces paying up to £2.1m to operate in London under the latest proposals to tighten regulation of private hire vehicles in the capital.

TfL, which launched a consultation into the fees today, said the charges would make sure operators paid according to the resources required to regulate their operations. "To illustrate the scale of this discrepancy, the largest operator [note: this is probably Uber] now pays the equivalent of just £565 per annum (over five years) for a licence which costs over £500,000 per annum to enforce".

Last month, Uber lost a high-profile court battle over plans by TfL to introduce English-language tests for drivers, a decision that could put more than 33,000 existing private hire drivers out of business.

The proposals would see an end to the current system where "small" operators, with no more than two vehicles, pay £1,488 for a five-year licence. At the moment, cab firms with more than two cars pay a flat rate of £2826 for a 5 year license - money that if Uber were a person, it wouldn't bother bending down to pick up. Operators with thousands of drivers now pay the same as those with just three.

Helen Chapman, General Manager of Taxi & Private Hire, said: "The operator fees system is no longer fit for goal". "It is only fair that licence fees for private hire operators accurately reflect the costs of enforcement and regulating the trade".

A new five-tier structure, which will apply to all minicab firms, will help fund the 250 extra compliance officers being hired to check insurance and other paperwork in a bid to raise industry standards.

The private hire industry has grown dramatically, from 65,000 licensed drivers in 2013/14, to more than 117,000 today.

TfL estimates that during the next five years, enforcement costs will reach £30m, compared with a previous estimate of £4m.

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