Uber faces paying £2.1m to operate in London under fee change

Reuters

Reuters

Transport for London is eyeing a windfall from Uber to cover the costs of regulating the startup.

Taxi app Uber could face an increase in operator license fees in London under proposed changes by the city's transport authority, the latest in a series of moves by regulators to rein in a firm that has disrupted the traditional taxi industry.

TfL has today opened a consultation on proposals to change the fees private hire operators are charged for the costs of licensing, compliance and enforcement activity.

Now the capital's transport agency has two charging tiers, with firms operating 2 vehicles charged £1,488 for a five year permit and those operating three or more vehicles charged £2,826. It lost a court battle in March to stop TfL from imposing strict new English reading and writing standards on drivers. Uber has lodged an appeal against the decision.

The new system would see the largest operators, with more than 1,000 vehicles, charged £166,518 for a five-year licence, plus £68 per registered vehicle.

TfL said it was also asking for views on whether there should be an option for operators in the top three tiers to pay their fees in annual instalments.

"The changes to fees would also enable us to fund additional compliance officers to help crackdown on illegal and unsafe activity". "It is only fair that licence fees for private hire operators accurately reflect the costs of enforcement and regulating the trade". The car-hailing company has previously supported the principle of larger operators paying higher fees.

The capital's minicab industry has grown dramatically from 65,000 licensed drivers in 2013/14 to more than 117,000 today.

TfL estimates the enforcement of minicab rules across London is expected to jump to £30m over the next five years as a result, up from previous estimates of £4m.

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