High Court rejects operator licence fee challenge

The High Court today ruled against a challenge against Transport for London’s operator licence fees.

Campaigning against the massive increase in operator license fee’s, the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) launched a fighting fund in an attempt to save the thousands of industry jobs which could be at risk due to the new operator fee increases.

Last month, the LPHCA took its challenge to the High Court to appeal against the massive increases in fees, which would see many businesses and drivers in the capital go out of business – according to the association.

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Its commitment to seek fairer fee reforms will continue, says Steve Wright MBE, Chairman of the LPHCA. He said; “It is regrettable the LPHCA has needed to ask the High Court to determine the legality, or otherwise, of Transport for London’s new ‘Private Hire Operator Licence Fees’.

‘Our challenge was founded on questions surrounding the sufficiency of information during the consultation and whether fees were set for an improper purpose. In handing-down its judgement today, we are disappointed the Court has found in favour of Transport for London.’

In light of the decision, and the ongoing impact on the wider trade, the LPHCA promises to will focus its efforts elsewhere, by firstly seeking an open dialogue with TfL on a potential review of the current fees, now the overall regulatory impact is much clearer.”

The LPHCA is meeting Transport Commissioner Mike Brown on 5th June 2018, the association has requested the subject of ‘Private Hire Operator Licence Fees’ is on the agenda.

It is also intending to invite the Transport Commissioner to facilitate open trade discussions with TfL regarding post implementation issues following the conclusion of the legal process.

Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: “Our number one priority is the safety of the public, which is why when faced with the huge growth of the private hire industry it was appropriate to ensure our regulatory and enforcement capabilities grew too.”

She added; “We robustly defended our position in court and welcome the court’s decision that the changes we made to the licence fee structure for private hire operators are lawful. The changes to the fees fund an additional 250 compliance officers who do a crucial job in driving up standards and ensuring Londoners remain safe.”

The LPHCA will now write to, then consult with, members and fighting fund contributors to discuss next steps.

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