Transport for London (TfL) has launched a public consultation on proposals to remove the congestion charge for private hire vehicles.
A 12-week consultation effective from Friday 6th July until Friday 28th September 2018 is considering radical changes to the Congestion Charge for London Licensed PHVs.
The new proposals would also see the introduction of a new ‘Cleaner Vehicle Discount’ to replace the Ultra Low Emission Discount.
It is proposed that these changes would take effect from 8 April 2019, and by ensuring that the emission standard for those receiving a full discount are tighter than the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), would help to further drive demand for the greenest vehicles, according to TFL.
Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, said: “If we are to clean up the capital’s toxic air and tackle congestion in central London, we need to have the appropriate incentives as well as the right interventions.
“The Congestion Charge has had a real impact on improving London’s roads for all since it launched fifteen years ago. However, over that time the availability and standard of low-emission vehicles has greatly advanced and the number of private hire vehicles entering the zone during charging hours has rocketed. It is only right that we keep the discounts and exemptions for the scheme under review to make sure it continues to be effective.”
The first phase of changes proposed would mean only zero-emission capable vehicles will not have to pay the Congestion Charge on environmental grounds.
On the back of the announcement today, the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) has launched an online petition to gather support against the proposals.
Chairman of the LPHCA, Steve Wright commented; “It is a very poor decision to consider Congestion Charging a mode of Transport that helps to reduce congestion, especially as London’s Licensed PHVs are probably the cleanest and greenest big fleets in the Capital.”
He added; “This appears to be a stealth tax that will ultimately fall on the NHS, Local Authorities the elderly and some of most vulnerable groups in London. We will lobby Transport for London and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to think long and hard about making this a reality and would urge the millions of Londoners and many businesses that will be affected and ultimately pay the cost, to respond to TfL’s consultation.